Lanny Davis on Trump-Cohen audio: ‘The truth is on our side’

Michael Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis on Tuesday insisted “the truth is on our side” after releasing audio of a conversation between President Trump and Cohen about a payment tied to a former Playboy model alleging an affair with Trump. 

Davis appeared on CNN to discuss the tape, which confirms earlier reports that Trump and Cohen talked about buying the rights to the story of Karen McDougal’s alleged affair with Trump. 

In the recording, Cohen tells Trump that he needs “to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend David,” a likely reference to American Media Inc. head David Pecker.

“What financing?” Trump asks.

Cohen says, “We’ll have to pay.” Though Trump replies something along the lines of “pay with cash,” it’s unclear what he said exactly. Cohen can then be heard replying “No, no, no,” but the audio afterward is also muddled.

Though Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani previously insisted Cohen suggested using cash to buy the story, Davis pointed to the audio as proof that it was Trump’s suggestion all along. (Davis is a columnist for The Hill.)

Giuliani contested Davis’s interpretation and released the Trump team’s version of the transcript, which contradicts Davis. While Davis said Trump was suggesting the two pay cash, Giuliani’s version of the transcript says Trump is saying, “Don’t pay with cash … check.” 

Davis smiled when CNN anchor Chris Cuomo read him Giuliani’s version of the transcript.

“Everybody heard just now Donald Trump say the word ‘cash,'” Davis said. “After Michael Cohen mentioned financing. When Mr. Giuliani … accused my client, Mr. Cohen, of saying the word ‘cash,’ I said, ‘Wait for the tapes.'”

“The tape contradicts Giuliani,” Davis continued.

“The only people who use cash are drug dealers and mobsters,” he added. 

Alan Futerfas, a lawyer for the Trump Organization, denied that the audio proved that Trump was offering to pay in cash.
“Whoever is telling Davis that cash in that conversation refers to green currency is lying to him,” Futerfas told CNN. “There’s no transaction done in green currency. It doesn’t happen. The whole deal never happened. If it was going to happen, it would be a payment to a large company that would obviously be accompanied by an agreement of sale. Those documents would be prepared by lawyers on both sides.”

Throughout the interview, Davis painted Cohen as a victim of attacks by Trump, Giuliani and their allies. 

He said Cohen is ready to “turn a new corner” and tell the truth about what transpired between himself and the president.  

Davis also pointed out that Trump is clearly unfazed by the discussion about the former Playboy model, with whom he denies having an affair.

“This is not a man shocked when Mr Cohen says, ‘We have to make payments,'” Davis said. “Listen to the tapes. This is not a man shocked about Karen McDougal. Remember that Hope Hicks, the campaign spokesman, denied that he knew anything about the McDougal matter before the November election.”

Davis made direct appeals to CNN’s audience, calling on them to listen to the tape themselves.

“These are people that scramble the truth up when they’re caught,” Davis said. “Now they’re going to say the tape was made up, it’s all fake news. I’ll tell you, ladies and gentlemen, what is not fake: your own ears, common sense.” 

Tags Donald Trump Hope Hicks

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