U.S. president Donald Trump and his former lawyer Michael Cohen can be heard taking about “financing” a payment in a tape of a recorded conversation released to CNN.
Lanny Davis, the lawyer for Cohen, provided a copy of the tape to CNN Tuesday. The FBI also has a copy of the tape.
The tape of the conversation — which was reportedly recorded in secret by Cohen — shows the men discussing buying the rights to a story originally set to run in the National Enquirer.
The story, in which ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal describes an alleged affair with Trump, was never published, despite the fact that the Enquirer paid $150,000 to exclusive rights to it, the Wall Street Journal reported in 2016.
On the tape, Cohen can be heard saying that Trump needs “to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend David.” (David is likely a reference to David Pecker, the head of American Media Inc. which owns the National Enquirer, CNN reported.)
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Trump and Cohen can be heard discussing “financing,” “funding” and whether or not to make a “cash” payment.
Trump asks for more information and Cohen tells him, “We’ll have to pay.” The audio is muffled but Trump can be heard saying to “pay with cash,” and Cohen says, “no, no.”
Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer, provided CNN with a transcript in which Trump is recorded saying, “Don’t pay with cash.”
Guiliani also previously told the Associated Press that the payment was never made.
The tape was recorded two months before the 2016 election.
When news of that payment emerged two days before the election, a Trump spokeswoman said his campaign had “no knowledge of any of this.”
Cohen’s home and offices have been raided as part of an investigation into his business dealings. He has not been charged with any crime.
*With files from the Associated Press