About two months before Election Day in 2016, Donald Trump and his former lawyer (and self-described “fixer”) Michael Cohen were chatting about how to convince a former Playboy model, Karen McDougal, to keep quiet about what she described as a long-term affair with the presidential candidate.
“We’ll have to pay,” Cohen said, according to a recording of the conversation that CNN obtained and broadcast Tuesday night.
“Pay with cash,” Trump appears to respond.
“No, no,” Cohen says. Earlier in the conversation Cohen suggested that he “open a company for the transfer of all of that info” to the National Enquirer and its parent company, American Media Inc. AMI’s chairman, David Pecker, is a friend of the president and he is also referred to on the tape. The Enquirer had already purchased McDougal’s account of her affair with Trump earlier in 2016 and then never published it. Trump and Cohen appear to be discussing a second payment to McDougal (and there is no indication that it was ever made).
“I’ve spoken to Allen Weisselberg about how to set the whole thing up,” Cohen tells Trump. “So, I’m all over that. And, I spoke to Allen about it.”
Weisselberg isn’t a bit player in Trumplandia and his emergence on the Cohen-Trump recording – as someone possibly facilitating a scheme apparently meant to disguise a payoff – should worry the president.
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