What the Trump lawyer recording does - and doesn't - tell us

Trump lashes out at Cohen over hush money tape
New Trump-Cohen audio recording captures talk of Playboy model payoff
Author

27 July, 2018

Cohen, who once declared he was so loyal he would "take a bullet for the president", is under federal investigation in NY for his business dealings and reportedly whether hush payments violated campaign finance laws.

Now, the recording is available for the world to listen to.

In the tape, Mr Trump and Mr Cohen talk about buying the rights to Ms McDougal's story, which she had sold a month earlier to the National Enquirer for US$150,000 (S$204,000). The tabloid never published the story.

Trump is legally bound to disclose campaign donations and expenditures, and the payments, which Trump denies happening, allegedly made to McDougal and Daniels went unreported by both Cohen and Trump. There's nothing on the tape to suggest that Trump and Cohen had discussed this with AMI before the company made a deal with McDougal, is there?

Over the years, Weisselberg's professional duties also came to include handling Trump's personal finances as well as the Trump Organization's corporate finances.

Lawyer Michael Avenatti alleged Cohen had evidence of Trump paying off multiple women and tried to cover up a pregnancy. "I can't imagine he wants to continue to pay high-priced lawyers", said Paul Beck, professor emeritus of political science at Ohio State University.

Avenatti demanded that Cohen should put in writing right now that he will not accept a pardon from President Donald Trump as proof of sincerity. Mr Cohen's response is clear: "No, no, no".

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Cohen's lawyer, Lanny Davis, told the Post that his client didn't make the recordings for any nefarious or untoward purposes.

Mr Trump's current lawyer, Mr Rudy Giuliani, said he got an audio expert to enhance the recording, the Associated Press reported.

Mr Giuliani said no payment was made in the end although he did not know why that was the case.

Such a secret payment could be regarded as an illegal campaign expenditure if the money is clearly meant to influence the outcome of the upcoming presidential election.

"Suggesting otherwise is ridiculous and is inconsistent with the rest of the conversation, during which it was discussed doing it through a corporation", he said.

Cohen's lawyer released the tape to television network CNN, an arch critic of the Trump administration, and in a flurry of interviews declared his client had "turned a corner" and would continue to speak "the truth". Those are both troublesome things for Trump - not because of McDougal's situation but because of the payoff to Stormy Daniels, which *was* actually completed and which would be a legal problem for him if it's deemed to have been made for the goal of influencing an election, i.e.an unreported campaign contribution. "Why was the tape so abruptly terminated (cut) while I was presumably saying positive things?"


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