For your own reasons turn into your bosoms,
As dogs upon their masters, worrying you.
– Henry V; Act Two, Scene II.
Of course, there’s a tape. This is Donald J. Trump we’re dealing with here, one of America’s most successful deadbeats. I’d tape him if he stopped me on the street and asked me for directions. If he told me his head was on fire, I’d stop to run video and audio before I handed him the hose. You never can tell with this guy. As boxers are warned before every fight, you have to protect yourself at all times.
The recording’s existence further draws Mr. Trump into questions about tactics he and his associates used to keep aspects of his personal and business life a secret. And it highlights the potential legal and political danger that Mr. Cohen represents to Mr. Trump. Once the keeper of many of Mr. Trump’s secrets, Mr. Cohen is now seen as increasingly willing to consider cooperating with prosecutors.
The former model, Karen McDougal, says she began a nearly yearlong affair with Mr. Trump in 2006, shortly after Mr. Trump’s wife, Melania, gave birth to their son Barron. Ms. McDougal sold her story for $150,000 to The National Enquirer, which was supportive of Mr. Trump, during the final months of the presidential campaign, but the tabloid sat on the story, which kept it from becoming public. The practice, known as “catch and kill,” effectively silenced Ms. McDougal for the remainder of the campaign.
The men discussed a payment from Mr. Trump to Ms. McDougal-separate from the Enquirer payment-to buy her story and ensure her silence, Mr. Giuliani said. That payment was never made, Mr. Giuliani said, adding that Mr. Trump had told Mr. Cohen that if he were to make a payment related to the woman, to write a check rather than send cash, so it could be properly documented.
If I’m the president*’s actual lawyers, I’m begging Rudy to stop helping now.
(The circumstances under discussion are as tawdry as we’ve come to expect. Karen McDougal is the woman who says the president*’s come-on was to tell her how much she reminded him of his daughter. I’ll be going to dive into a pool full of Clorox now.)
My guess is that Cohen has tapes of everything. (If he’s smart, he does, anyway.) There will be a flood of them, sooner or later. I’ll let the legal ethics wonks parse out exactly how badly Cohen has blown up the canons of ethics. I suspect his law license is as far down his list of priorities now as it was when he was running clean-up errands. But he’s the first member of the inner circle to put a bargaining chip on the table. There will be other chips from other people. This is far from the last deal to go down.
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