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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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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