A recording of U.S. President Donald Trump talking about a payment to a ex-Playboy model who claimed they’d had an affair suggests Trump’s team later lied about his knowledge of the payment.
Trump’s onetime personal attorney Michael Cohen recorded a conversation with then-candidate Donald Trump two months before the 2016 election in which they discussed buying the rights to a story by a former Playboy model who said she had an affair with Trump, one of the president’s lawyers said on Friday.
Lawyer Rudy Giuliani said that no campaign funding was involved in the discussion between Trump and Cohen, who has distanced himself from Trump in recent months as the FBI investigates Cohen’s business dealings. If campaign funds were used, that could run afoul of federal election law, legal experts said.
Before the election, the Trump campaign denied any knowledge of payment to McDougal, but the taped conversation could undermine those denials. The existence of the audio recording was first reported by the New York Times, which said Trump and Cohen discussed a potential payment to the former model, Karen McDougal.
Giuliani confirmed the conversation to Reuters and that it took place in September 2016 but said it involved reimbursing the parent company of the National Enquirer tabloid for McDougal’s story rights. The payment was never made, he said.
Giuliani denied Trump had an affair with McDougal. He said the tape would show that Trump makes clear that if there is going to be a payment, it should be done by check, which would be easily traced.