We now turn to Axios’ morning email thingie:
Lanny Davis — a lawyer for Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer and fixer — said following last night’s release of a secret Trump-Cohen recording that we’ll soon learn more “about what Michael Cohen saw and heard.”
- In an astounding spectacle, Davis released to CNN a tape of Cohen talking with Trump, who was apparently being taped without his knowledge, about buying the rights to a Playboy model’s story about an alleged affair.
- “When Cohen tells Trump, ‘We’ll have to pay,’ Trump is heard saying ‘pay with cash’ but the audio is muddled and it’s unclear whether he suggests paying with cash or not paying,” CNN reports.
- CNN debuted the audio in prime time last night, and soon MSNBC was also playing the tape.
- The FBI seized the tape in a raid on Cohen’s office in April. Cohen cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller is one of the scenarios Trump advisers fear most…
Rudy Giuliani, a Trump lawyer, told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham that the tape is exculpatory for the president.
- Rudy: “I agree with you the tape is a little bit hard to hear. But I assure you that we listened to it numerous, numerous times. And the transcript makes it quite clear … that President Trump says ‘don’t pay with cash.'”
- Lanny Davis said that response amounts to: “Don’t believe your lying ears.”
The WaPo has the transcript of The Russian Usurper talking to his stupidest lawyer (sorry Rudy!) about paying off the Playboy Bunny:
Cohen: And, I’ve spoken to [Trump Organization CFO] Allen Weisselberg about how to set the whole thing up with…
Trump: So, what do we got to pay for this? One-fifty?
Cohen: …Funding…Yes. Um, and it’s all the stuff.
Trump: Yeah, I was thinking about that.
Cohen: All the stuff. Because—here, you never know where that company—you never know what he’s—
Trump: Maybe he gets hit by a truck.
Cohen: Correct. So, I’m all over that. And, I spoke to Allen about it, when it comes time for the financing, which will be—
Trump: Wait a sec, what financing?
Cohen: Well, I’ll have to pay him something.
Trump: [UNINTELLIGIBLE] pay with cash.
Cohen: No, no, no, no, no. I got it.
Trump: Che[TAPE SKIPS].
As Dame Peggington Noonington of the Brooklynshire Nooningtons would suggest, it would be irresponsible of us to not SPECULATE WILDLY!
There is a world of difference between “[Don’t] pay with cash,” and “[Don’t]. Pay with cash.” And that’s the difference between making the payment traceable and making it untraceable. I’m not sure which version makes it much more likely that it was a felonious campaign finance law violation, and which version might make it a conspiracy to cover-up a campaign finance law violation and possible obstruction (I suppose?), but it is damning either way: Trump has consistently denied knowing anything about payoffs to his assorted mistresses and pornstars.
also/too: doesn’t it sound like they’ve done this before?
also/also/too: ALL THE STUFF! – there’s so much more. This is like a Marvel Comic origins story arc coming soon.