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Photo: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

The audio recording of the conversation between Michael Cohen and Donald Trump, released to CNN last night by Cohen's lawyer Lanny Davis, offers unparalleled insight into Trump and Cohen's relationship, both then and now.

Why it matters: We’re now beginning to learn why Trump was so agitated, according to aides, when investigators raided Cohen’s office. 

What it illuminates about Trump: The shadiness of his dealings, especially those facilitated by Cohen. And his lies about not knowing anything about these payments. This did not sound like a conversation between two men inexperienced in such dealings.

What it illuminates about Cohen: The leaking of the tape is, in some ways, more important than the contents of the tape itself. On Saturday, I reported that Cohen has been privately telling friends he has real concerns about Trump’s fitness to be president. Cohen has totally turned against Trump and appears willing to weaponize the information, and secret recordings, he has at his disposal.

Go deeper

Collins helps contractor before pro-Susan PAC gets donation

Sen. Susan Collins during her reelection campaign. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

A PAC backing Sen. Susan Collins in her high-stakes reelection campaign received $150,000 from an entity linked to the wife of a defense contractor whose firm Collins helped land a federal contract, new public records show.

Why it matters: The executive, Martin Kao of Honolulu, leaned heavily on his political connections to boost his business, federal prosecutors say in an ongoing criminal case against him. The donation linked to Kao was veiled until last week.

How cutting GOP corporate cash could backfire

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Companies pulling back on political donations, particularly to members of Congress who voted against certifying President Biden's election win, could inadvertently push Republicans to embrace their party's rightward fringe.

Why it matters: Scores of corporate PACs have paused, scaled back or entirely abandoned their political giving programs. While designed to distance those companies from events that coincided with this month's deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol, research suggests the moves could actually empower the far-right.

9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Kaine, Collins pitch Senate colleagues on censuring Trump

Sen. Tim Kaine speaks with Sen. Susan Collins. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP via Getty Images

Sens. Tim Kaine and Susan Collins are privately pitching their colleagues on a bipartisan resolution censuring former President Trump, three sources familiar with the discussions tell Axios.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on the record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction in his second impeachment.

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