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Michael Cohen, a longtime personal lawyer and confidante for President Trump. Photo: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

CNN on Tuesday obtained the audio recording of a conversation Michael Cohen had secretly with his longtime client Donald Trump, in which the two could be heard discussing making a payment to a Playboy model who allegedly had an extramarital affair with Trump about a decade ago.

The conversation: Trump could be heard asking Cohen, "What financing?," CNN reports.

  • Cohen: "We'll have to pay."
  • Trump: "Pay with cash." The audio is muddled and it's unclear whether he suggested his attorney should pay with cash or not pay, CNN notes.
  • Cohen: "No, no." It's unclear what was said next.

Why it matters: The September 2016 recording, which Cohen's lawyer Lanny Davis gave to CNN, confirms that President Trump had some knowledge of a proposal to buy the rights to the story of Karen McDougal, the Playboy model.

The backdrop: Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani had confirmed the tape on Friday, but said no payment was ever made.

  • The FBI had obtained the secretly-recorded audio, as well as 11 others, during their April raid of Cohen's office and hotel room in New York.
  • This is reportedly the only recording that contains a conversation between Cohen and Trump. A court filing this week did not say who recorded the 11 tapes nor what the other tapes picked up.

Go deeper: Michael Cohen, the problem Trump can’t make vanish

Go deeper

Senate confirms retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as defense secretary

Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

The Senate voted 93-2 on Friday to confirm retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as secretary of defense. Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) were the sole "no" votes.

Why it matters: Austin is the first Black American to lead the Pentagon and President Biden's second Cabinet nominee to be confirmed.

House will transmit article of impeachment to Senate on Monday, Schumer says

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that the House will deliver the article of impeachment against former President Trump for "incitement of insurrection" on Monday.

Why it matters: The Senate is required to begin the impeachment trial at 1pm the day after the article is transmitted.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Private equity bets on delayed tax reform in Biden administration

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

In normal times, private equity would be nervous about Democratic Party control of both the White House and Congress. But in pandemic-consumed 2021, the industry seems sanguine.

Driving the news: Industry executives and lobbyists paid very close attention to Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen's confirmation hearings this week, and came away convinced that tax reform isn't on the near-term agenda.

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