On Wednesday, CNN published a tape of a conversation between Donald Trump and his former lawyer Michael Cohen. In the tape, recorded secretly by Cohen, the president discusses how to purchase the rights to former Playboy model Karen McDougal’s story about her alleged affair with Trump.
Cohen’s lawyer has claimed that the tape proves his client tried to handle the payment legally, whilst Trump wanted to pay in cash – this payment is part of a wider question as to whether the Trump and his team broke campaign finance law in the run up to the election, with various payments Cohen made to different women.
Cohen first revealed he had taped conversations between himself and the president last week, as investigations continued into Cohen’s financial dealings with the Trump election campaign.
The tape has been released by CNN and was played in full (video at end) though audio quality is limited. We have included a full transcript of the conversation below:
Trump: Good, let me know what’s happening okay. Oh, oh, maybe because of this it would be better if you didn’t go, you know, maybe because of this, for that one, you know, I think we can just get rid of this, because, it’s so false what they’re saying, it’s such bullshit.
I think this goes away quickly, I think it’s probably better, do the Charleston thing, yeah, in two weeks it’s fine, I think right now it’s better. Okay honey, you take care of yourself, thanks babe. Yeah, I’m proud of you. So long. Bye.
It’s unclear what the ‘Charleston thing’ is at this point, or who Trump was talking to. The Charleston City Paper has jumped on the mention.
Cohen: Great poll by the way.
Cohen: Seen it, great poll.
Trump: Making progress.
Cohen: Big time.
Trump: And your guy’s a good guy.
Cohen: Pastor Scott?
Trump: Can’t believe this. No, Pastor Scott. What, what’s happening, can we use him anymore?
Cohen: Oh yeah a hundred – no, you’re talking about Mark Burns. He’s, we’ve told him to [UNINTELLIGIBLE].
Trump: I don’t need that. Mark Burns, are we using him?
Unknown female: Richard [UNINTELLIGIBLE] I’m sorry, Richard [UNINTELLIGIBLE] he, just when you have a chance, he has an idea for you.
Trump: Okay, great.
Cohen: So we, erm, got served from the New York Times, I told you this regarding.
Trump: To what?
Cohen: Unsealed, the divorce papers, with Ivana, erm, we’re fighting it. Kasowitz is going to –
Trump: They should never be able to get that.
Cohen: Never, never, Kasowitz doesn’t think they’ll ever be able to. They don’t have a –
Trump: Get me a Coke, please!
Cohen: They don’t have a legitimate purpose, so –
Trump: And you have a woman that doesn’t want this. COHEN: Correct. TRUMP: Who you’ve been handling.
Cohen: Yes. And –
Trump: And it’s been going on for a while.
Cohen: About two, three weeks now.
Trump: All you’ve got to do is delay for –
Cohen: Even after that, it’s not ever going to be opened. There’s no, there’s no purpose for it. Um, told you about Charleston. Um, I need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend, David, you know, so that — I’m going to do that right away. I’ve actually come up and I’ve spoken –
Trump: Give it to me and get me a [UNINTELLIGIBLE]
The chairman of the company that owns the National Inquirer – the publisher who published the rightsMcDougal’s story in what is known as a ‘catch and kill’ tactic – is David Pecker, who is being discussed here.
Cohen: And, I’ve spoken to Allen Weisselberg about how to set the whole thing up with …
Trump: So, what do we got to pay for this? One-fifty?
Cohen: … Funding . . . Yes. Um, and it’s all the stuff.
Trump: Yeah, I was thinking about that.
Cohen: All the stuff. Because – here, you never know where that company – you never know what he’s –
Trump: Maybe he gets hit by a truck.
Cohen: Correct. So, I’m all over that. And, I spoke to Allen about it, when it comes time for the financing, which will be –
Trump: Wait a sec, what financing?
Cohen: Well, I’ll have to pay him something.
Trump: [UNINTELLIGIBLE] pay with cash.
Cohen: No, no, no, no, no. I got it.
Trump: Check. [Tape cuts off abruptly. Separate recording begins.]
Unknown male: Hey Don, how are you?
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