As if this week hadn’t been bananas enough, Friday brought the bombshell news that President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen had recorded a conversation in which they discussed a payment to an ex-Playboy model that allegedly had an affair with Trump. The existence of this recording apparently has the president feeling that Cohen betrayed him.
According to the New York Times, the recording was seized in the FBI raid of Cohen’s office and home back in April and features Trump and Cohen talking about paying Karen McDougal to keep quiet about a sexual relationship with Trump. The conversation took place two months before the 2016 presidential election and Trump could be heard telling Cohen to write a check if they were to go through with the payment. McDougal was paid $150,000 by Trump-friendly tabloid The National Enquirer for her story, which the publication never ran in an instance of “catch and kill.”
Trump lawyer and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani told the Times that the president didn’t know he was being recorded by Cohen while brushing off the significance of the tape:
Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, confirmed in a telephone conversation on Friday that Mr. Trump had discussed payments to Ms. McDougal with Mr. Cohen on the tape. He said the recording was less than two minutes long and claimed that the president had done nothing wrong.
Mr. Giuliani said there was no indication on the tape that Mr. Trump knew before the conversation about the payment from the Enquirer’s parent company, American Media Inc., to Ms. McDougal.
“Nothing in that conversation suggests that he had any knowledge of it in advance,” Mr. Giuliani said.
Per CNN, Trump sounded pretty upset when he discovered the recording existed:
Giuliani said Trump had no idea he was being recorded during the McDougal discussion, which took place in the then-candidate’s office at Trump Tower in September 2016. When informed about the recording, Trump said, “I can’t believe Michael would do this to me,” a source familiar with the tapes told CNN.
Meanwhile, other sources told CNN that Cohen has other recordings of “powerful” people outside of the president and are of “significance and consequence.” Also, Giuliani has been aware of the recordings for days now and has reviewed the transcripts.
As for Cohen, who once said he would take a bullet for Trump, he has been strongly hinting in recent weeks that he will be cooperating with the FBI, saying that he will “put family and country first.”