Hey, Look: More Evidence That Broidy May Have Been Covering for Trump in That Playmate Affair
New Yorker, May 22, 2018
Saturday, December 2, 2017, was a big day for David Dennison. Dennison — as Donald Trump was called in his hush-money agreement with Stormy Daniels — was taking a break from the golfing trips that had dominated his weekends for that entire fall. Today there was no time for golf: He was traveling from the White House to New York City, where he would spend all day on Wall Street, fundraising for his 2020 reelection campaign, and for the Republican National Committee.
Trump would not get back to the White House until 4:45 p.m., but he still found time in his busy schedule that day for one more meeting. That get-together was with a wealthy Republican fundraiser and lobbyist, Elliott Broidy. Broidy, who had been convicted in 2009 of bribing public officials, had spent all of 2017 investing enormous amounts of time and money to acquire what his business partner George Nader termed “this priceless asset” — a private meeting with the president of the United States. In fact this asset could be given a quite precise price. A remarkable investigative report from the Associated Press describes what appeared to be a particularly brazen quid pro quo:
- After a year spent carefully cultivating two princes from the Arabian Peninsula, Elliott Broidy, a top fundraiser for President Donald Trump, thought he was finally close to nailing more than $1 billion in business.
- He had ingratiated himself with crown princes from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, who were seeking to alter U.S. foreign policy and punish Qatar, an archrival in the Gulf that he dubbed “the snake.”
- To do that, the California businessman had helped spearhead a secret campaign to influence the White House and Congress, flooding Washington with political donations. Broidy and his business partner, Lebanese-American George Nader, pitched themselves to the crown princes as a backchannel to the White House, passing the princes’ praise — and messaging — straight to the president’s ears.
- Now, in December 2017, Broidy was ready to be rewarded for all his hard work. It was time to cash in.
- In return for pushing anti-Qatar policies at the highest levels of America’s government, Broidy and Nader expected huge consulting contracts from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, according to an Associated Press investigation based on interviews with more than two dozen people and hundreds of pages of leaked emails between the two men.
Those consulting contracts, according to Broidy’s own correspondence, were what the December 2 meeting was about. And, a few days later, Broidy got his payoff: The U.A.E. awarded his company a deal worth up to $600 million over the next five years.
Here is some additional context that now seems especially noteworthy: Just two days before that meeting, on November 30, Broidy wired $200,000 from his Bank of America account to Real Estate Attorneys’ Group, a California firm. On December 5, REAG transferred that money to attorney Keith Davidson. Davidson was at the time supposedly representing the legal interests of Shera Bechard, a Playboy model with whom Broidy now claims to have had an affair. (Bechard fired Davidson shortly afterward, when she became convinced that Davidson was actually working in concert with Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s personal attorney, to protect Cohen’s client’s interests rather than hers.) That $200,000 was supposed to be the first of eight quarterly payments that “David Dennison” agreed to make to Bechard, in order to buy her silence about an affair and a subsequent abortion. All this was laid out in an NDA recovered from Michael Cohen’s office when it was raided last month. That agreement had been signed in October 2016, just weeks before the presidential election.
Four days after after the raid on Cohen’s office, on April 13, The Wall Street Journal published a story claiming that this David Dennison, in the NDA signed by Shera Bechard, was none other than Elliott Broidy — despite its being precisely the same pseudonym Trump had used in the Stormy Daniels NDA.
The paper’s basis for its scoop was this: Whoever leaked the existence of the Bechard NDA to the Journal also asserted that the agreement was between Bechard and Broidy. The Journal’s reporters confronted Broidy, and Broidy immediately confessed to having had a long-running affair with Bechard, and subsequently agreeing to pay her $1.6 million to buy her silence about it. The first payment of the agreement was supposed to be due on December 1, 2017. That is the story Broidy told the Journal, and that story has, remarkably enough, become accepted as simple fact. Indeed, the AP concludes its bombshell exposé of Broidy’s machinations by observing that Broidy had gotten Shera Bechard pregnant, and had “agreed to pay her $1.6 million to help her out, as long as she never spoke about it.”
But as I argued at length and in detail in this space two weeks ago, Broidy’s account raises a lot of questions — and I believe a more plausible explanation of all the facts at hand is that he agreed to pay Bechard seven figures as a favor to Donald Trump, who actually impregnated Bechard, and then needed to hush her up about their affair and her subsequent abortion.
Trump, I pointed out, is exactly the kind of man who has affairs with women like Shera Bechard, while Broidy has a history of bribing public officials to further his business interests — indeed, he had even made payments to the mistress of a politician he was bribing. And it was clear Broidy had spent much of 2017 touting his connections to Trump to various foreign officials.
The AP exposé only strengthens the evidence for my hypothesis: The first payment from Broidy came two days before the meeting that apparently helped him ink a nine-figure deal with a foreign country — a deal based in no small part on his access to, and influence on, Trump. If it’s difficult to imagine Broidy being willing to take the fall for Trump’s affair with Bechard and then paying her a seven-figure sum, it’s much simpler to imagine it simply as a perfectly timed and fantastically profitable bribe.
It’s also important to keep in mind that the only hard evidence for Broidy’s claim that his payoff to Bechard wasn’t actually a straight-up bribe of the president of the United States continues to be Broidy’s own assertions. (My repeated attempts to get Bechard’s current attorney, Peter Stris, to comment on this matter have been unsuccessful.) Journalists — including those AP reporters who pulled together such a remarkable and important story — might want to be cautious about taking Broidy’s word on the matter at face value.
Trump lawyer 'paid by Ukraine' to arrange White House talks By Paul Wood
BBC News, 23 May 2018
Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, received a secret payment of at least $400,000 (£300,000) to fix talks between the Ukrainian president and President Trump, according to sources in Kiev close to those involved.
The payment was arranged by intermediaries acting for Ukraine's leader, Petro Poroshenko, the sources said, though Mr Cohen was not registered as a representative of Ukraine as required by US law.
Mr Cohen denies the allegation.
The meeting at the White House was last June. Shortly after the Ukrainian president returned home, his country's anti-corruption agency stopped its investigation into Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort.
A high-ranking Ukrainian intelligence officer in Mr Poroshenko's administration described what happened before the visit to the White House. Mr Cohen was brought in, he said, because Ukraine's registered lobbyists and embassy in Washington DC could get Mr Poroshenko little more than a brief photo-op with Mr Trump. Mr Poroshenko needed something that could be portrayed as "talks".
This senior official's account is as follows - Mr Poroshenko decided to establish a back channel to Mr Trump. The task was given to a former aide, who asked a loyal Ukrainian MP for help.
He in turn used personal contacts in a Jewish charity in New York state, Chabad of Port Washington. This eventually led to Michael Cohen, the president's lawyer and trusted fixer. Mr Cohen was paid $400,000. There is no suggestion that Mr Trump knew about the payment.
A second source in Kiev gave the same details, except that the total paid to Mr Cohen was $600,000.
LISTEN: How Michael Cohen Protects Trump By Making Legal Threats
NPR, May 31, 20183:37 PM ET
Donald Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen is facing legal peril, including an FBI raid of his home and office — and involvement in a civil lawsuit with adult film star Stormy Daniels.
But in the past, it was Cohen who sought to put legal pressure on others to solve problems for his boss.
For the first time, audio recordings of Cohen's legal threats, from a 2015 Daily Beast interview, are being published. Conversation between Michael Cohen and NPR's Tim Mak, reporting for the Daily Beast in 2015
Files From Cohen Shredder, Encrypted Apps Restored by Feds
MANHATTAN (CN) – Prosecutors reconstructed more than a dozen pages of shredded documents and obtained hundreds of encrypted messages from President Donald Trump’s embattled personal attorney Michael Cohen, they told a federal judge Friday.
The revelation fell hours after CNN reported that Cohen told his family that he is willing to cooperate with the federal government.
“As also previously noted, the contents of a shredding machine were seized on April 9, 2018,” prosecutors wrote this afternoon in a letter to U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood. “The reconstructed documents were produced today, and are approximately 16 pages long.”
The 2-page letter goes on to announce that the FBI has recovered 731 pages of communications from Cohen’s encrypted messaging applications, including WhatsApp and Signal. Call logs are included in these pages.
Today marked the deadline for Cohen’s attorneys to complete their review of files that the FBI seized pursuant to a search warrant from their client’s office, apartment and hotel room in April.
With a criminal fraud investigation ongoing, prosecutors agreed to give Cohen another 10 days to review the latest tranche of files by June 25.
The batch will also include the contents of two BlackBerrys among about a dozen phones seized from the raid. Prosecutors say they have have turned over the contents of one BlackBerry to Cohen already, and the FBI is still attempting to extract data from the second.
Michael Cohen resigns from RNC committee post, sources say By ELIANA LARRAMENDIA
ABC, Jun 20, 2018, 1:28 PM ET
Michael Cohen, President Trump’s longtime confidant and former personal attorney, has resigned from his post as deputy finance chair of the Republican National Committee's Finance Committee, sources close to the RNC told ABC News.
In his resignation letter to Ronna McDaniel, the RNC chair, Cohen cited the ongoing special counsel investigation as one reason for his departure. ABC News has reviewed the email.
“This important role requires the full time attention and dedication of each member. Given the ongoing Mueller and SDNY investigations, that simply is impossible for me to do,” he wrote.
Cohen also criticized the administration's policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the southern border, the first time he’s distanced himself from the president.
"As the son of a Polish holocaust survivor, the images and sounds of this family separation policy is heart wrenching,” Cohen wrote. “While I strongly support measures that will secure our porous borders, children should never be used as bargaining chips."
Cohen on Tuesday hired New York lawyer Guy Petrillo to represent him in a federal investigation into his business dealings.
Did @rudygiuliani really say on Sunday shows that @michaelcohen212 should cooperate with prosecutors and tell the truth? Seriously? Is that Trump and Giuliani definition of “truth”? Trump/Giuliani next to the word “truth” = oxymoron. Stay tuned. #thetruthmatters
“Why Am I Going to Continue to Be Silent?”: Michael Cohen Is Ready to Kick Off the Lanny Davis Era by Emily Jane Fox
Vanity Fair, July 8, 2018 6:15 pm
Two weeks ago, Michael Cohen picked up his cell phone and dialed a number that a few mutual friends suggested he call. Lanny Davis answered the line on the other end. Cohen and Davis, of course, were unlikely compatriots. The former, Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer and fixer, had made his name vociferously defending his old boss until F.B.I. agents seized millions of documents from his homes and office this spring; the looming threat of indictment has subsequently made him the subject of Washington’s favorite morality tale. Davis, meanwhile, served as an official legal adviser in the Clinton White House amid special counsel Ken Starr’s investigation. During the bewildering public psychodrama that ensued, he became an equally determined surrogate during impeachment proceedings. He remains an ardent Clinton supporter to this day. Earlier this year, he released a book in which he ripped former F.B.I. director James Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s e-mail server, arguing that it cost her the 2016 presidential election.
Now, Cohen was asking Davis’s counsel. “Is this the Michael Cohen?” Davis asked through the phone. “Is this the Lanny Davis?” Cohen replied. It took Davis all of a minute to recognize the Five Towns, Long Island drawl coming through his receiver. From there, they spent two weeks getting to know one another on the phone, hammering out what could be a strategy for Cohen going forward, as he prepares for the next stage of his legal fight—which will mostly play out privately—and a looming public-relations battle with those in Trump’s orbit. Politics, particularly in the Trump age, makes for unlikely bedfellows.
The Cohen-Davis alliance, first reported earlier this week by The New York Times’s Maggie Haberman, and recently illuminated by my colleague Abigail Tracy, suggests the commencement of a new act in Cohen’s Shakespearean tragicomedy. Since I interviewed him in March about the Stormy Daniels affair, and after the government executed its search warrants, Cohen had been largely silenced by his attorneys, either not responding to reporters' requests for comment or giving terse, flat denials. But his interview with another former Clintonite, George Stephanopoulos, proved that he is ready to pre-empt what he expects to be the next chapter, both legally and reputationally. Cohen hired Guy Petrillo, a former head of the criminal division in the Southern District of New York—the same group conducting his investigation—to handle his defense going forward. After Cohen sat down for an interview with Stephanopoulos last week, Davis agreed to join Petrillo on Cohen’s legal team. “Like most of America, I have been following the matter regarding Michael Cohen with great interest,” Davis said in a statement. “As an attorney, I have talked to Michael many times in the last two weeks. Then I read his words published on July 2, and I recognized his sincerity. Michael Cohen deserves to tell his side of the story—subject, of course, to the advice of counsel.” (Cohen has not been charged with any criminal wrongdoing, nor has he met with federal prosecutors, according to people familiar with the situation.)
Davis’s hiring appears to suggest a reset button—a way to possibly tip-toe around the fact that any good lawyer, like Petrillo, or Steve Ryan, who represented Cohen for more than a year until this week, would recommend that their client stay quiet. Davis’s presence will provide a first line of defense against what those around Cohen believe will be a campaign against his credibility, largely waged by Trump surrogates. Davis and Cohen will follow Petrillo’s guidance when it comes to speaking with the media, which likely will mean fewer, if any, on the record interviews. People around Cohen believe that some of the attitudes already expressed by Trump and his new attorney Rudy Giuliani—that Trump “liked” Cohen, in the past tense, for one, and the insistence that Cohen had his own businesses apart from Trump—mark the beginning of the onslaught. On Sunday, Giuliani told Chuck Todd on NBC’s Meet the Press that if Cohen “wants to cooperate, I think it’s great,” and that it’s a good development because “it will lead to nothing.” These people also believe that some of Trump’s family members, including Don Jr. and Jared Kushner, have also discussed ways to distance themselves from him. Cohen, for his part, seems game to fight back. “For a year and a half, I’ve been silent,” Cohen told friends around the time he called Davis. “What has silence gotten me? It’s ruined my business. It’s ruined my wife’s life. It’s ruined my children’s lives. I’ve been a punching bag for everybody. Why am I going to continue to be silent?”
Part of the strategy, as evidenced in his conversation with Stephanopoulos, is to present a fundamental break with his past behavior, like when he told me last summer that he would take a bullet for the president and got misty-eyed even walking by Trump Tower because he missed the Trump family so much. In his ABC interview, he made a pointed remark about the Russia investigation not being a “witch hunt,” a phrase Trump has repeated over and over again since he took office. He also talked about how “courteous” the F.B.I. had been, even in taking boxes of documents, dozens of electronic devices, and the cell phone straight out of his hand in April—a marked contrast in the way Trump frequently speaks about the “deep state” and what he believes to be a contingent of corrupt F.B.I. agents working for his Justice Department. Most notably, when the subject of the infamous Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer was broached, Cohen, at the advice of counsel, did not answer a question about whether Trump knew about that meeting before it happened. And Cohen, who was not present at the meeting, also said the meeting was “a mistake by those from the Trump campaign who did participate,” adding that it was “an example of poor judgement.”
Since the interview, and particularly since Davis came on board, Cohen’s mood has been somewhat buoyed. He is at least somewhat at ease knowing that there will be someone highly skilled at this high-wire act of defending someone under extreme pressure and legal jeopardy, and overall, those around him believe he “won the hell out of the week,” as one person close to Cohen put it.
“For the first time, people are willing to say he’s being used as collateral damage and that they are going to hold Trump accountable for his misdeeds instead of holding Cohen accountable,” this person added.
People are also starting to approach Cohen, asking if they can set up a GoFundMe page to help cover his legal fees, which could stem into the seven-figure range when all is said and done. “He’s said it’s not a bad idea,” the person close to Cohen said. “But nothing is set up yet.”
Ex-Novartis CEO sent drug pricing proposal to Cohen By Jessie Hellmann
The Hill, 07/13/18 03:07 PM EDT
Democrats are accusing a major pharmaceutical company of trying to influence the Trump administration's plan to lower drug prices.
Emails obtained by Democrats and publicly released Friday show that Novartis sent Michael Cohen, a former lawyer for President Trump, a list of proposals to lower drug prices.
Several of those proposals later appeared in the administration's "blue print" to lower drug prices.
In an email dated June 5, 2017, ex-Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez sent Cohen an email with a document attached called "drug pricing initiatives."
"Based on our conversation last week, I am forwarding you some ideas to lower drug costs in the US," Jimenez wrote.
Cohen responded a few hours later: "Received and I will forward to you their suggestions."
Several of the recommendations later ended up in the administration's blueprint, which was released in May. Those included proposals to speed up the approval of generic drugs and reforming the rebate system between pharmacy benefit managers and drug manufacturers.
Novartis previously acknowledged a $1.2 million agreement with Cohen last year. Cohen allegedly promised the company access to the Trump administration.
Novartis said it ended the relationship with Cohen in March 2017, but Democrats say new documents show communication continued until September.
"These documents indicate that Mr. Cohen and Mr. Jimenez – who was still the Novartis CEO at the time – had at least four phone calls, and, between April and September 2017, exchanged multiple emails on substantive issues, including the Trump administration’s drug pricing proposals, Novartis’s potential investment in a small drug company backed by Columbus Nova, and with regard to opioid lawsuits," according to the report.
Democrats have characterized the relationship as Cohen capitalizing on his ability to offer companies access to Trump administration officials.
Cohen's attorney Lanny Davis, a contributor to The Hill, said in a statement to ABC that Cohen provided "strategic advice" and did not "sell access."
Novartis spokesman Eric Althoff said Jimenez provided Cohen with a list of "well-known ideas for lowering the cost of pharmaceuticals that had been discussed publicly in the industry."
Althoff also said the company disagrees with the report's conclusion that Novartis misled the public about the extent of its engagement with Cohen.
"As the documents we produced show, Novartis had [its] one and only meeting with Mr. Cohen on March 1, 2017, and then concluded he was not able to provide the substantive consulting advice and insight for which he was hired. We never asked Mr. Cohen to perform any services on our behalf after March 1, nor did he perform any," he said.
These are not THE tapes they are looking for: ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Michael Cohen Secretly Taped Trump Discussing Payment to Playboy ModelMichael Cohen Secretly Taped Trump Discussing Payment to Playboy Model By Matt Apuzzo, Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt
NYT, July 20, 2018
WASHINGTON — President Trump’s longtime lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, secretly recorded a conversation with Mr. Trump two months before the presidential election in which they discussed payments to a former Playboy model who said she had an affair with Mr. Trump, according to lawyers and others familiar with the recording.
The F.B.I. seized the recording this year during a raid on Mr. Cohen’s office. 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. 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. 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.
Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, confirmed in a telephone conversation on Friday that Mr. Trump had discussed payments to Ms. McDougal with Mr. Cohen on the tape. He said the recording was less than two minutes long, said Mr. Trump did not know he was being recorded and claimed that the president had done nothing wrong.
Mr. Giuliani said there was no indication on the tape that Mr. Trump knew before the conversation about the payment from the Enquirer’s parent company, American Media Inc., to Ms. McDougal.
“Nothing in that conversation suggests that he had any knowledge of it in advance,” Mr. Giuliani said.
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.
Mr. Cohen’s lawyers discovered the recording as part of their review of the seized materials and shared it with Mr. Trump’s lawyers, according to three people briefed on the matter.
Mr. Cohen rejected repeated requests for comment. “We have nothing to say on this matter,” Mr. Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny J. Davis, said when asked about the tape.
David J. Pecker, the chairman of A.M.I., is a friend of Mr. Trump’s, and Ms. McDougal has accused Mr. Cohen of secretly taking part in the deal — an allegation that is now part of the F.B.I. investigation.
When The Wall Street Journal revealed the existence of the A.M.I. payment days before the election, Mr. Trump’s campaign spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, said, “We have no knowledge of any of this.” She said Ms. McDougal’s claim of an affair was “totally untrue.”
It is not clear how explicit Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen were in their recorded conversation. Any evidence showing that Mr. Trump knew about the financial arrangement would undercut the Trump campaign’s statements.
“It can’t be more than a minute and a half,” Mr. Giuliani said, referring to the length of the conversation. “Twice someone walks in — someone brings soda in for them. It’s not some secret conversation.”
He added: “Neither one seems to be concerned anyone would hear it. It went off on irrelevant subjects that have nothing to do with this. It’s a very professional conversation between a client and a lawyer and the client saying, ‘Do it right.’”
Because the tape showed Mr. Trump learning about the A.M.I. payment, it actually helps Mr. Trump, Mr. Giuliani argued. “In the big scheme of things, it’s powerful exculpatory evidence,” he said.
The recording is potential evidence in the campaign finance investigation, but became tied up in a legal fight over what materials are protected by attorney-client privilege and thus off limits to prosecutors. It is not clear whether a federal judge has ruled on whether prosecutors can listen to the recording.
For a decade, Mr. Cohen served as one of Mr. Trump’s most trusted fixers, aggressively taking on journalists, opposing lawyers and business adversaries. He frequently taped his conversations, unbeknown to the people with whom he was speaking. New York law allows one party to a conversation to tape conversations without the other knowing.
Mr. Cohen used to say he would take a bullet for Mr. Trump, but the relationship soured in the aftermath of the F.B.I. raids in April. Mr. Cohen has publicly and privately discussed the idea of cooperating with the F.B.I. In an interview with ABC News this month, Mr. Cohen seemed to be openly inviting prosecutors to talk to him.
“My wife, my daughter and my son have my first loyalty and always will,” Mr. Cohen said. “I put family and country first.” The words got Mr. Trump’s attention, and he asked people if they thought Mr. Cohen was trying to send a message, either to him or the Justice Department. The Cohen investigation began with the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, who is investigating the Trump campaign’s links to Russia. But as the Cohen case became increasingly focused on Mr. Cohen’s personal business dealings and his campaign activities unrelated to Russia, Mr. Mueller referred it to federal prosecutors in Manhattan, who are now leading the investigation.
The wide-ranging search warrants served on Mr. Cohen this spring show that prosecutors are investigating Mr. Cohen’s involvement in payments to silence women about their relationships with Mr. Trump. In addition to Ms. McDougal’s arrangement, prosecutors also sought evidence of payments to the adult film star Stephanie Clifford, who is better known as Stormy Daniels.
Mr. Trump has denied knowing about those payments, though people familiar with the arrangement have said he was aware of them. But his denial helped suppress public allegations of an affair during the final months of the campaign.
Such payments, depending on how and why they were made, could represent campaign finance violations — a case that harks back to the failed prosecution of the former Democratic senator John Edwards, who tried to hide a pregnant mistress during his presidential campaign. Mr. Cohen’s case is unusual because the payment to Ms. McDougal was made by American Media Inc. In August 2016, A.M.I. bought the rights to her story about Mr. Trump for $150,000 and a commitment to use its magazines to promote her career as a fitness specialist.
Federal agents are also scrutinizing Mr. Cohen’s personal financial dealings and whether he committed fraud by lying about his assets on bank forms. In particular, the authorities are scrutinizing taxi medallions that Mr. Cohen owned, and whether he accurately accounted for their value, according to several people close to the case.
Matt Apuzzo and Michael S. Schmidt reported from Washington, and Maggie Haberman from New York.
Michael Cohen’s Lawyer Fires Back at Rudy Giuliani ‘Any attempt to spin this story cannot change what is on the tape,’ Lanny Davis said in response to Giuliani calling the tapes ‘exculpatory.’ By Betsy Woodruff
Daily Beast, 7.20.18 5:34 PM ET
Michael Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis is pushing back against Rudy Giuliani, who now represents President Donald Trump. Earlier Friday, Giuliani claimed that any tapes Cohen has of conversations with Trump would be “exculpatory” for the president.
“Obviously, there is an ongoing investigation, and we are sensitive to that,” Davis told The Daily Beast. “But, suffice it to say, that when the recording you are reading about is heard, it will not hurt Mr. Cohen. Any attempt to spin this story cannot change what is on the tape.”
A source close to Michael Cohen said Davis’s comments should be interpreted as dinging Giuliani.
“That comment from Davis must be a shot at Rudy Giuliani who takes bad news and tries to make it good news by spin,” the person said.
The tape at issue reportedly recorded a conversation between Cohen and Trump about a potential hush-money payment to former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal.
Breaking News: FBI Raid Trump's Lawyer on 15:53 - Jul 21 by Kilkennyjack
Fascinating stuff, its defo going to go bang soon. Trump OUT.
To make it even more spicy the latest speculation is that Trump's own team have leaked the existence of this particular recording.
Possible reasons include just to get the denial out first, or to take the Helsinki/NATO/QE II Trump European Vacation car crash out of the news, but a more interesting possibility is they lawyers want to remove one of Cohen's possible bits of evidence against Trump he could trade to Mueller in exchange for leniency in his own case.
There's a lot of moving parts to this angle on the Trump universe of chaos, but things now seem to be moving fairly quickly. Furthermore, I believe I have read the tealeaves as regards US dollar performance, and I expect to see some near term strength in the next month or so, followed by serious weakness certainly into into the spring, that could well coincide with a political crisis in the US. We shall see. . .
Avenatti claims he represents three more women that were paid hush money By Avery Anapol -
The Hill, 07/27/18 07:14 AM EDT
Lawyer Michael Avenatti claimed late Thursday that he is representing three other women who say they were paid hush money either by President Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen, on behalf of Trump, or by publishing company American Media, Inc.
Avenatti, who is representing adult-film star Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against Trump and Cohen, made the announcement during a panel discussion in West Hollywood.
"There are three additional female clients of mine that have not been disclosed that were paid hush money prior to the 2016 election, whether it be from Michael Cohen on behalf of the president, an entity that Michael Cohen formed, or AMI," Avenatti said.
The Associated Press reported that Avenatti confirmed the women claim they had affairs with Trump.
"Last time I checked, they weren't just handing out checks to anyone whether they had a relationship or not," he added.
He said that one of the women claimed to be pregnant at the time she was paid, according to ABC7.
In a tweet later Thursday, Avenatti called for Trump and Cohen to reveal more information about the situation.
“Three additional women. All paid hush money through various mean,” he tweeted. “Time for Michael Cohen and Donald Trump to come 100 percent clean with the American people. All the documents, all the tapes, NOW. No more lies or lip service.”
Three additional women. All paid hush money through various means. Time for Michael Cohen and Donald Trump to come 100 percent clean with the American people. All the documents, all the tapes, NOW. No more lies or lip service. #Basta — Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) July 27, 2018
Daniels is suing Trump and Cohen for defamation, and to void a nondisclosure agreement about her alleged 2006 affair with Trump. Cohen arranged a $130,000 payment to Daniels days ahead of the 2016 election, which she says was to keep her quiet about the alleged affair.
Cohen also secretly taped Trump discussing a payment to former Playmate Karen McDougal, who also claims she had an affair with Trump.
It was reported earlier this year that AMI, the publisher of the National Enquirer, bought the rights to McDougal’s story, but never ran the piece. Trump is a longtime friend of AMI head David Pecker.
Trump has denied knowing about the payments in advance, and has denied the affairs took place. -Updated 7:31 a.m.
The TV personality who becomes president, The porn star, the cheeky, over-confident lawyer, and the blundering nerdish attorney. The hush money, and the cheesy "henchman" with a knife and a scar on his face, who threatens people in parking lots.