Jul 20, 2018

There’s a tape: Michael Cohen secretly recorded Trump payoff discussion

Michael Cohen. Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images

The FBI has obtained a recording of a conversation between Michael Cohen and Donald Trump from September 2016 in which the two discussed a potential payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal who claimed she had an affair with Trump, reports the New York Times.

What they're saying: "Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, confirmed in a telephone conversation on Friday that Mr. Trump had discussed the payments with Mr. Cohen on the tape but said the payment was ultimately never made," per the Times' Matt Apuzzo, Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt. "He said the recording was less than two minutes and demonstrated that the president had done nothing wrong."

The details: The FBI reportedly obtained the recording during their April raid of Cohen's office and hotel room.

  • Flashback: Trump blasted the raid at a meeting with senior military leadership, calling it a "disgraceful situation" and an "attack on our country in a true sense ... an attack on what we all stand for."

Why it matters: This is a nightmare scenario for the White House. As Mike Allen reported after the raid, "Cohen, unlike Ivanka or the other kids, is the only person on earth intertwined in Trump’s professional, political, personal, legal and family life — the man with secrets few others hold."

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

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There are warning signs that Nevada could be Iowa all over again

Former Sen. Harry Reid (D) lines up to cast an early vote for the upcoming Nevada Democratic presidential caucus. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The alarms are increasingly sounding over Nevada's Democratic caucus, which is just five days away.

Why it matters: Similar issues to the ones that plagued Iowa's caucus seem to be rearing their ugly heads, the WashPost reports.

China tries to contain coronavirus, as Apple warns of earnings impact

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

As China pushes to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus — placing around 780 million people under travel restrictions, per CNN — the economic repercussions continue to be felt globally as companies like Apple warn of the impact from the lack of manufacturing and consumer demand in China.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 1,775 people and infected more than 70,000 others, mostly in mainland China. There are some signs that new cases are growing at a slower rate now, although the World Health Organization said Monday it's "too early to tell" if this will continue.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 hours ago - Health

Apple will miss quarterly earnings estimates due to coronavirus

Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple issued a rare earnings warning on Monday, saying it would not meet quarterly revenue expectations due to the impact of the coronavirus, which will limit iPhone production and limit product demand in China.

Why it matters: Lots of companies rely on China for production, but unlike most U.S. tech companies, Apple also gets a significant chunk of its revenue from sales in China.