Cohen to CNN's Cuomo: I Made Stormy Payment 'on My Own'

Glen Norman
July 26, 2018

President Trump's longtime fixer Michael Cohen recorded a conversation with CNN reporter Chris Cuomo earlier this year in which he said he arranged "on my own" a $130,000 payment in 2016 to Stormy Daniels, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

The tape, made two months before the 2016 presidential election, captures Trump discussing a potential payment for a former Playboy model's account of having an affair with him.

Mr Giuliani said Mr Cohen had recorded the McDougal conversation at Trump Tower in NY using a hidden device.

Caputo admitted to being "shocked" upon discovering Cohen had secretly recorded conversations with Trump but did not anticipate any legal landmines. 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).

Giuliani contested Davis's interpretation and released the Trump team's version of the transcript, which contradicts Davis.

The tape then cuts off abruptly - a fact the president jumped on.

Cohen released the tape of himself seeming to talk with then-candidate Trump about payments to a former Playboy model who alleges she had an affair with Trump while he was married to his current wife, first lady Melania Trump.

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.

At one point, Cohen says of David, "I'll have to pay him something". Mr Trump is heard saying "pay with cash" but it is not clear if he is suggesting to do so or not do so.

Rudy Giuliani told Laura Ingraham it was "outrageous" for Cohen to tape his client surreptitiously and "foolhardy for them to try to yell and scream and make believe what's on the tape". After Trump became president his lawyers created a trust that safeguards his interest in the Trump Organization while ostensibly managing the company without his input.

Trump on Saturday denied any wrongdoing. He has raised speculation in recent weeks that he might cooperate with investigators, after saying in an interview with ABC that his "first loyalty" is to the country, not Trump.

The tape appears to contradict the Trump campaign's later claim that Trump knew nothing about payments to a media company to keep model Karen McDougal's story from becoming public. Trump's lawyers say the payments were never made.

Additionally, Trump has always been plagued by rumors that he fathered an illegitimate child and paid a former Trump Tower doorman $30,000 to keep quiet about the affair.

This chatter is noteworthy because it shows Cohen advising Trump on campaign matters.

Federal prosecutors in NY are investigating Cohen for possible bank and tax fraud, and for possible campaign law violations linked to a $130,000 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels and other matters related to Trump's campaign, a person familiar with the investigation has told Reuters. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said this week "the president maintains he's done nothing wrong".

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