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

Michael Cohen wearing sunglasses and surrounded by paparazzi
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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