CNN has aired an audio tape in which Donald Trump and his then-lawyer, Michael Cohen, discuss buying the rights to Playboy model Karen McDougal’s story.
The network played the recording on Chris Cuomo’s primetime TV show on Tuesday night. It got the recording from Mr Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis, who also appeared on the program.
Ms McDougal has alleged that she had an extramarital affair with Mr Trump in 2006.
In the recording, made by Mr Cohen in September 2016, Mr Trump and Mr Cohen discuss acquiring the rights to her story from American Media, the publisher of the National Enquirer. AMI is headed by Mr Trump’s friend David Pecker. The Enquirer never ran the story.
“I need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend David,” Mr Cohen is heard saying, apparently a reference to Mr Pecker.
Mr Trump asks, “What financing?”. He is heard saying “pay with cash”, and Mr Cohen says “no no”, and then Mr Trump says “cheque”.
However, it is difficult to determine what else was said in that portion of the audio to put it entirely in context.
Full audio: Presidential candidate Trump is heard on tape discussing with his attorney Michael Cohen how they would buy the rights to a Playboy model's story about an alleged affair Trump had with her years earlier, according to the audio recording "https://t.co/YmC0QuDqTx pic.twitter.com/fBbq7r1Lq9
— Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) July 25, 2018
The tape was among about a dozen recordings seized by the FBI during a raid on Mr Cohen’s office in April.
Mr Davis defended his client and suggested that Mr Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, had misrepresented the contents of the tape. He has said that no payment was ever made.
“This is about honesty versus false disparagement of Michael Cohen. Why is Giuliani out falsely disparaging Michael Cohen? Because they fear him,” Mr Davis said.
He said that when Mr Trump said “cash”, it was Mr Cohen who said “no, no, no”.
On Fox News on Tuesday, Mr Giuliani insisted that on the tape Mr Trump says “Don’t pay with cash”.
“There’s no way the President is going to be talking about setting up a corporation and then using cash, unless you are a complete idiot, and the President is not an idiot,” Mr Giuliani said on Fox News.
There’s no way the President is going to be talking about setting up a corporation and then using cash, unless you are a complete idiot, and the President is not an idiot
He said his team obtained the recording over the weekend and played it repeatedly.
“Look, we’ve been over the tape over the weekend about five times,” he said. “What I urge people to do is go online and listen to your broadcast. Play the tape, play it three times. The third time you play it, it will become clear.”
“I’ve got 4000 hours of mafia people on tape,” he added. “I know how to listen to them, I know how to transcribe them. I’ve dealt with much worse tapes than this.”