Giuliani: Tapes Show Cohen 'Explaining Something' Trump 'Doesn't Understand'

Donald Trump's Secret Call with Michael Cohen About Karen McDougal Released

Donald Trump's Secret Call with Michael Cohen About Karen McDougal Released

President Trump lashed out at his former lawyer Michael Cohen on Wednesday after Cohen released a tape on which the two discuss buying the story of a woman who said she had an affair with Trump.

A transcript, provided by Trump's legal team, shows that the then-GOP presidential nominee does not register confusion or surprise when Cohen refers to a plan to purchase the rights to McDougal's story from American Media Inc., the parent company of the National Enquirer. They never published the story. An attorney for AMI declined to comment Tuesday night. Cohen responds, "no, no".

"Everybody heard just now Donald Trump say the word 'cash, '" Davis said.

In response to the newly released Cohen tape, the ethics watchdog Common Cause simply pointed to its complaint filed with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) earlier this year, which noted: "All indications are that AMI made the payment to McDougal in consultation with Michael Cohen, President Trump's personal lawyer and "fix-it" man, which makes AMI's payment a "coordinated expenditure" and in-kind corporate contribution to the Trump campaign". "What is this about", Davis asked rhetorically. Cohen is under criminal investigation by the United States attorney's office in Manhattan for his personal financial dealings, including the payment he made to porn actress Stormy Daniels on Trump's behalf before the election, though he has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

Giuliani said the conversation was held at Trump's office in Trump Tower and that Cohen used a hidden device to record the conversation. Perhaps because the tape doesn't clearly feature Trump pushing the idea of paying in cash, he needs to make the case that the Trump team lied about it.

Davis insisted Wednesday that Cohen, who is under criminal investigation in NY, is not seeking a pardon from Trump.

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Trump previously stated that he had no knowledge of the proposal.

Lanny Davis, Cohen's lawyer, said on ABC's "Good Morning America" on Wednesday that Cohen is not seeking a pardon from the president as he faces a federal criminal investigation on campaign finance and bank fraud allegations in NY. Trump's attorneys "don't have any problem with anybody listening to them", the source said, adding that the remaining tapes disclosed Monday contain conversations between Cohen and a third party about Trump, not direct discussions between Trump and Cohen.

The fact that the tape was released at all may also be significant.

At one point, Cohen says of David, "I'll have to pay him something". Cohen tells Trump that The New York Times wants to unseal documents on his divorce from Ivana Trump ahead of the election (an effort that was ultimately unsuccessful, as Cohen predicts).

U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif, ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, posted on Twitter that the Cohen tape shows that Giuliani was "untruthful" when he said Trump didn't know about the payments.

Regardless of how strained these arguments are, though, remember this: If there was something nefarious here, you can bet Cohen would know more about it or would at least testify to that fact if he flipped on Trump.

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