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Michael Cohen leaves the U.S. Courthouse in New York. Photo by Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images

Lanny Davis — a lawyer for Michael Cohen, President Trump's former lawyer and fixer — tells me that, following last night's release of a secret Trump-Cohen recording, we'll soon learn more "about what Michael Cohen saw and heard."

In an astounding spectacle, Davis released to CNN a tape of Cohen talking with Trump, who was apparently being taped without his knowledge, about buying the rights to a Playboy model's story about an alleged affair.

  • "When Cohen tells Trump, 'We'll have to pay,' Trump is heard saying 'pay with cash' but the audio is muddled and it's unclear whether he suggests paying with cash or not paying," CNN reports.
  • CNN debuted the audio in prime time last night, and soon MSNBC was also playing the tape.
  • The FBI seized the tape in a raid on Cohen's office in April. Cohen cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller is one of the scenarios Trump advisers fear most.

Davis, a damage-control maestro going back to the Clinton administration, told me: "Michael Cohen has made a turn. This is on the record — Michael and I talked about it."

  • "Michael is going to tell the truth to the powers that be, and let the chips fall where they may."
  • "I've used this line too many times, but who talks about cash like that besides drug dealers and mobsters?"
  • Davis said that the tape's release sends the message: "I am no longer the previous Michael Cohen that you knew — taking a bullet for Donald Trump, saying anything to defend him, being a good soldier. ... That is over."
  • Davis said he was unable to say what Cohen's next move is: "I’m not saying there are more tapes as telling as [this] one, ... but there are more tapes. ... There is more to come."

Rudy Giuliani, a Trump lawyer, told Fox News' Laura Ingraham that the tape is exculpatory for the president.

  • Rudy: "I agree with you the tape is a little bit hard to hear. But I assure you that we listened to it numerous, numerous times. And the transcript makes it quite clear ... that President Trump says 'don't pay with cash.'"
  • Lanny Davis said that response amounts to: "Don't believe your lying ears."
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Go deeper

Making sense of Biden's big emissions promise

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Biden's new U.S. emissions-cutting target is a sign of White House ambition and a number that distills the tough political and policy maneuvers needed to realize those aims.

Driving the news: This morning the White House unveiled a nonbinding goal under the Paris Agreement that calls for cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 50%-52% by 2030 relative to 2005 levels.

Biden pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 52% by 2030

U.S. President Joe Biden seen in the Oval Office on April 15. (Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)

The Biden administration is moving to address global warming by setting a new, economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 50% to 52% below 2005 levels by 2030.

Why it matters: The new, non-binding target is about twice as ambitious as the previous U.S. target of a 26% to 28% cut by 2025, which was set during the Obama administration. White House officials described the goal as ambitious but achievable during a call with reporters Tuesday night.

2 hours ago - Health

Health care workers feel stress, burnout more than a year into the pandemic

Photo: Steve Pfost/Newsday RM via Getty Images

More than a year into the coronavirus pandemic, some 3 in 10 health care professionals say they've considered leaving the profession, citing burnout and stress, a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll out Thursday indicates.

Why it matters: Studies throughout the pandemic have indicated rising rates of depression and trauma among health care workers, group that is no longer seeing the same public displays of gratitude as during the onset of the pandemic.