- The Washington Times - Friday, July 20, 2018

The FBI has a secretly taped conversation of President Trump and his former longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen discussing paying hush money to a Playboy model who had alleged an affair with Mr. Trump, The New York Times reported on Friday.

The bombshell report said that Mr. Cohen secretly recorded conversation just two months before the 2016 election. It was seized by the FBI when they raided his offices earlier this year, according to the Times.

In the recording, Mr. Cohen and Mr. Trump are said to be discussing a payment to Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model who claims to have had an affair with Mr. Trump in 2016.

Hope Hicks, a former Trump campaign spokeswoman, said in 2016 that Ms. McDougal’s allegations were “totally untrue.”

Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s current attorney, confirmed to the newspaper the recording’s existence, but said the payment was never made. He also said the recording is under two minutes and proves he did nothing wrong.

“Nothing in that conversation suggested he had any knowledge of it in advance,” Mr. Giuliani told The Times.

Mr. Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, said the tape would not hurt his client.

“Obviously there is an ongoing investigation and we are sensitive to that,” Mr. Davis said in a statement. “But suffice it to say that when the recording is heard, it will not hurt Mr. Cohen. Any attempt at spin can not change what is on the tape.”

Federal authorities are probing whether Mr. Cohen paid off two women who alleged affairs with Mr. Trump ahead of the 2016 election.

Mr. Cohen made a $130,000 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels, to prevent her from talking about her alleged affair with Mr. Trump. Ms. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is suing Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen for libel. She has a separate lawsuit against Mr. Trump over a nondisclosure agreement she signed in exchange for the money.

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