SEVERE WX : Flood Warning View Alerts

Cohen recorded Trump discussing payments

President Trump's former personal attorney Michael Cohen secretly recorded him discussing payments to former Playboy model Karen McDougal before the 2016 election. The New York Times' Maggie Haberman and CNN's Dana Bash report.

Posted: Jul 21, 2018 6:57 PM
Updated: Jul 21, 2018 7:13 PM

The story, on its face, seems to be this: In the waning months of the 2016 election, Donald Trump and Michael Cohen talked about paying off former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal, who alleged an affair with Trump, to keep her quiet.

Pretty big news, right? (Kudos to The New York Times for breaking it.)

And it is! But the bigger story here isn't that one conversation between Trump and his fixer. After all, we know that Cohen did this sort of dirty work for Trump; Cohen paid porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 11 days before the 2016 election to ensure her silence about an alleged tryst she says she had with Trump in the 2000s. And we know, despite the initial denials from Cohen and Trump, that Trump paid Cohen back for that payout.

The big story here -- and it is a B-I-G story -- is that Cohen secretly recorded a conversation with Trump. And that this wasn't the only conversation with Trump he taped. And certainly not the only conversation that might be of interest to special counsel Robert Mueller that Cohen taped. These two paragraphs, from CNN's report on the taping, hit the nail on the head:

"Cohen has other recordings of the President in his records that were seized by the FBI, said a source with knowledge of Cohen's tapes and Giuliani, who described the other recordings as mundane discussions.

"There are other tapes of Cohen and other "powerful" individuals that the FBI seized beyond the President that could be embarrassing for the people on the tape and for Cohen, according to a source familiar with the tapes. The source said the people are of "significance and consequence."

First of all, mundanity is in the eye of the beholder. Maybe the rest of the Cohen-Trump tapes are just the two of them talking about the dismal state of the Knicks. Or about "Hamilton." Or whatever.

But maybe they are slightly less innocuous than that. That's not to say there is anything illegal contained in the tapes -- but remember that Cohen was Trump's longtime fixer, the Michael Clayton-figure in Trumpworld. Cohen was so valuable to Trump because he was willing to do what had to be done -- whatever had to be done -- to take pressure or problems off of his boss's plate. That means any recorded conversations between him and Trump are potentially problematic for Trump.

It also means that Cohen's conversation with other "powerful" individuals has the potential to contain a bombshell or two as well. It's not clear whether those revelations -- if they are indeed on tape -- would boomerang back onto Trump or anyone else in the President's inner circle. But, given Cohen's reputation as a secret-keeper willing to walk very, very close to the line of what's legal -- the fact that he secretly recorded a series of conversations with the man who is now President of the United States (and other "powerful" people) is a very big deal.

The fact that the existence of the recorded calls leaked should also be worrisome to the Trump White House and anyone else who said anything to Cohen over the phone that might be problematic if it went public. The news that the FBI is in possession of these audio records -- likely obtained in the massive search and seizure operation conducted against Cohen's hotel, house and office in April -- almost certainly came from one of two places: The FBI or Cohen (or one if his allies).

If it came from the Cohen side, that's yet more evidence that the man who once said he would take a bullet for Trump may be softening in his commitment to his former boss amid the possibility of significant jail time. Earlier this month, Cohen told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that "my wife, my daughter and my son have my first loyalty and always will. I put family and country first."

Lanny Davis, Cohen's newly hired attorney, made very clear what Cohen meant. "This is a new Michael Cohen with a new attitude about speaking his mind," Davis said in an interview with The Hill.

A Cohen freed from his almost-sycophantic relationship with Trump could be a dangerous thing for Trump -- not to mention the likes of Donald Trump Jr. and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner. And that Cohen with possession of recordings he secretly taped of conversations with Trump as well as other "powerful" people is a prospect that should send a shiver of fear through Trump world.

That's the real story here. Don't miss it.

Lafayette
Cloudy
53° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 53°
Kokomo
Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 37°
Rensselaer
Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 38°
Lafayette
Cloudy
53° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 53°
Danville
Cloudy
51° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 51°
Frankfort
Cloudy
50° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 50°
Frankfort
Cloudy
50° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 50°
Monticello
Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 42°
Monticello
Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 42°
Logansport
Cloudy
° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: °
Warmest weather since December is ahead with good timing with the weekend rainfall...
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

WLFI is promoting fire safety with FREE smoke detectors

 WLFI and several local fire departments are helping with your fire safety this winter. CLICK HERE. 

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 660071

Reported Deaths: 12531
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion904161633
Lake48298874
Allen35720633
Hamilton31970396
St. Joseph29796510
Elkhart25331412
Vanderburgh21192377
Tippecanoe19927199
Johnson16312356
Porter15917269
Hendricks15785300
Clark11913180
Madison11717315
Vigo11562229
Monroe10300159
Delaware9824179
LaPorte9739196
Howard9038195
Kosciusko8539108
Bartholomew7424147
Hancock7399130
Warrick7399150
Floyd7180167
Wayne6622191
Grant6413157
Boone606888
Morgan6066124
Dubois5890111
Dearborn544466
Cass542899
Marshall5414104
Henry541392
Noble508476
Jackson464165
Shelby459890
Lawrence4174111
Gibson400981
Harrison397863
Clinton394453
Montgomery385083
DeKalb384378
Knox356285
Miami356163
Whitley348435
Huntington341876
Steuben337455
Wabash330576
Putnam328259
Ripley326461
Adams322149
Jasper314843
White297152
Jefferson293773
Daviess285096
Fayette271156
Decatur270188
Greene260780
Posey260431
Wells257174
Scott250050
LaGrange240770
Clay240344
Randolph225376
Spencer216930
Jennings214344
Washington209927
Sullivan202939
Fountain201042
Starke187250
Owen181953
Fulton177937
Jay177528
Carroll176218
Perry173335
Orange170950
Rush164322
Vermillion160141
Franklin159135
Tipton145941
Parke138615
Pike127432
Blackford120527
Pulaski106544
Newton96531
Brown94839
Benton91713
Crawford90313
Martin80114
Warren75312
Switzerland7527
Union66910
Ohio52911
Unassigned0433

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events