CNN obtained and aired the secret recording of then-candidate Donald Trump speaking to his former lawyer Michael Cohen about arranging a payment to keep secret an extramarital affair before the election. Ms McDougal sold her story to the National Enquirer, which never published it. An attorney for AMI declined to comment Tuesday night.
"So, what do we got to pay for this?"
When Mr Cohen mentions "financing", Mr Trump stops him and says, "Wait a sec, what financing?"
The dramatic leak of a taped conversation between Donald Trump and his longtime attorney Michael Cohen signals an aggressive new strategy by the former fixer, raising questions about how much the USA leader has to fear should he cooperate with prosecutors. "What is this about", Davis asked rhetorically.
Trump has admitted paying - via Cohen - another woman who has alleged a sexual relationship with him: porn actress Stormy Daniels, although Trump denies there was a relationship.
Cohen was proposing to pay AMI, which owns the National Enquirer newspaper, for the rights to McDougal's story.
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I tell them to react like a manager - the last decision is mine - but they can do what they feel, we are not going to change.
Trump was outraged at the raid on Cohen in April, declaring on Twitter that "attorney client privilege is dead" on Twitter and calling the search "an attack on our country".
Before the election, Trump's campaign denied any knowledge of payment to McDougal, but the taped conversation could undermine those denials. "The end result is, no payments were made, no cash was given, so this is a big deal about nothing", Dershowitz said.
Trump is right. It wasn't illegal or necessarily improper for Cohen to tape a conversation with his client, but to release that tape to CNN was a shocking violation of his duty to preserve client confidences under the New York Lawyer's Code of Professional Responsibility, DR 4-101.
The fact that the tape was released at all may also be significant.
Davis, who worked for the Bill Clinton White House, has accused Trump's new personal lawyer, former federal prosecutor and NY mayor Rudy Giuliani, of disparaging Cohen, alleging the Trump camp are "afraid" of his client. "I got it." The audio cuts to what appears to be a new recording after that. "It involves the discussion of how this corporation that was being set up to supposedly buy back any potentially damaging stories about Trump would pay for any such properties". He said Trump's allusion to "cash" was meant as a counterpoint to Cohen's reference to "financing".
Regardless of how strained these arguments are, though, remember this: If there was something nefarious here, you can bet Cohen would know more about it or would at least testify to that fact if he flipped on Trump.