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25 Jul, 2018 12:04

CNN releases audio of Trump & lawyer, claims pair talk hiding president’s alleged affair

CNN releases audio of Trump & lawyer, claims pair talk hiding president’s alleged affair

CNN has published a tape which it says captures President Donald Trump and his lawyer Michael Cohen discussing the cover-up of Trump’s alleged affair with a former Playboy model a decade ago. He denies the affair took place.

According to CNN, the private conversation between Trump and Cohen was recorded in September 2016, two months before the presidential election, and was subsequently handed over via Cohen’s attorney. Before playing the tape on live TV, CNN’s Chris Cuomo warned the listeners that it is “not a great quality recording,” since the sound is muddled, and the meaning of several phrases and the overall context of the whole conversation is not entirely clear.

Nevertheless, CNN suggested that the discussion captures Trump exploring the options to bury the story of his alleged extramarital affair with former Playboy model Karen McDougal, which supposedly occurred more than ten years ago.

Cohen, who was Trump’s attorney and personal confidant at the time, is heard saying to Trump that he needs “to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend David.” He later tells Trump “We’ll have to pay,” to which Trump interjects, saying “Pay with cash.” But Trump’s full response is muddled, so it’s not exactly clear whether he advises Cohen to pay with cash or not to pay. The latter option is not explored by CNN.

The channel suggests that the “friend” in question is “likely” David Pecker, the head of American Media, which publishes the National Inquirer, the then-holder of the rights to McDougal’s story.  

Trump’s legal team denies that he arranged for any payments in the hope of barring the media from publishing McDougal’s account. “The whole deal never happened,” Trump’s attorney Alan Futerfas told CNN.

The president continues to vehemently deny having any extramarital affairs, including the alleged affair with McDougal. He says her allegations are part of a wider campaign of slander directed against him by political opponents.

The FBI raided Cohen’s home in April, looking for evidence of alleged payments to McDougal, and seized a dozen recordings of his meetings with Trump. The president labeled the whole operation “a total witch hunt.” He tweeted, asking "What kind of a lawyer would tape a client?"

Earlier Trump said that it is “inconceivable” and “totally unheard of” that Cohen had secretly recorded private conversations with him. Trump also added that Cohen’s actions were “perhaps illegal.”

American Media had relinquished the rights to McDougal’s story after reaching a settlement with the model in April.

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