Michael Cohen Reportedly Taped Conversation With Trump Discussing Payment to Playboy Model

The FBI now has the secret recording.

Go Nakamura/ZUMA

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Two months before the 2016 election, Michael Cohen—President Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney and fixer—surreptitiously recorded Trump discussing a payment to a Playboy model who alleged she’d had an affair with the president.

The New York Times reported Friday that the FBI discovered the secret tape during its April raid of Cohen’s offices. The existence of the recording immediately raised questions about whether Cohen or other Trump associates might have secretly recorded any other potentially damaging conversations with Trump. 

Rudy Giuliani, the president’s lawyer, confirmed the conversation to the Times but insisted that it ultimately exonerated Trump and claimed that the payment was never actually made. “Nothing in that conversation suggests that he had any knowledge of it in advance,” Giuliani said, adding, “In the big scheme of things, it’s powerful exculpatory evidence.” 

In March, Karen McDougal, the model who alleges she had an affair with Trump back in 2006, told CNN that Trump attempted to pay her after they had sex. The former Playmate has claimed that the National Enquirer—which is run by a Trump ally—never published her story about the affair after purchasing it for $150,000. She is now suing the tabloid in an effort to nullify a legal arrangement that prevents her from publicly discussing the alleged tryst.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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