Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen taped Trump discussing payments related to his affair with Playboy model Karen McDougal.
There are tapes.
Confirming one of the White House's worst fears about Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen, the New York Times reports Cohen secretly taped Trump in 2016 discussing payments surrounding the story of Playboy model Karen McDougal, whom he had had an affair with.
The plot came at the height of the presidential campaign.
"The Justice Department is investigating Mr. Cohen’s involvement in paying women to tamp down embarrassing news stories about Mr. Trump ahead of the 2016 election," the Times reports. "Prosecutors want to know whether that violated federal campaign finance laws, and any conversation with Mr. Trump about those payments would be of keen interest to them."
When informed about the Cohen tape, Trump said, “I can’t believe Michael would do this with me,” according to a CNN report.
The FBI seized the recording earlier this year during its raid on Cohen’s office. Cohen is being investigated for possible bank fraud and campaign violations.
The secret tape revelation comes as speculation mounts that Cohen might be willing to cooperate with prosecutors who are investigating Trump's 2016 campaign. Cohen has served as Trump's longtime "fixer," and is someone who likely has an extraordinary amount of incriminating information about Trump's business dealings as well as his personal life.
In 2016, the Trump campaign appeared to be engaged in an aggressive campaign to silence women like McDougal who had affairs with Trump.
McDougal signed a $150,000 exclusive contract to tell her story to the National Enquirer. But The Enquirer never ran its story on Trump's McDougal affair. It's a practice known as "catch and kill," and was designed to make sure the women's damaging stories about Trump would never be made public.
On the taped conversation between Trump and Cohen from 2016, the two men were discussing a plan to buy the rights to McDougal's story from The Enquirer, according to the Washington Post.
David Pecker, chairman of the Enquirer’s parent company, is a longtime friend and political ally of Trump’s.
Another woman who was paid off in 2016 was adult film actress Stormy Daniels. She received a $130,000 payment from Cohen.
However, her story has been made public when she sued to be released from her confidentiality agreement.
That controversy has since tied the White House in knots, with Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani admitting this year that Trump "knew the general arrangement" but not the "specifics" of the Cohen payment. Giuliani added, "They funneled it through a law firm, and the president repaid it."
Broidy agreed to pay $1.6 million in exchange for the silence of former Playboy model Shera Bechard, whom Broidy impregnated while having an affair.
Recall that during the Watergate scandal, after the existence of secretly recorded tapes emerged, Richard Nixon never recovered politically.