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

Go deeper

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Screenshot: Axios (via YouTube)

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Why it matters: Cisco joins Sony, Electronic Arts and Google in delaying tech events planned for this week.

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Why it matters: It's the latest example of social media being used to exploit and sharpen the very real divisions in American society. It's also the latest example of Twitter more aggressively rooting out false information on its platform.

Updated 25 mins ago - Politics & Policy

The latest: George Floyd protests nationwide

Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators outside of the White House on Monday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued for a seventh day across the U.S., with President Trump threatening on Monday to deploy the military if the unrest continues.

The latest: Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser criticized federal police in a tweet Monday night for using munitions earlier in the day "on peaceful protestors in front of the White House, an act that will make the job of (DC Police Department) officers more difficult." "Shameful!" she added as she urged residents to go home and stay safe.