The Trump-Cohen Tape: Much Ado About Nothing

The Trump-Cohen Tape: Much Ado About Nothing

The Trump-Cohen Tape: Much Ado About Nothing

Well, we knew it would happen. Sooner or later, someone would “leak” something from the Cohen tapes. In this instance, approximately two minutes of audio aired on CNN last night in an “exclusive” on Chris Cuomo’s show. Instead of answering any questions, the excerpt raises a number more, questions we have yet to get answered. Questions the media should be asking and isn’t.

Now, before actually getting into what the tape says — or doesn’t say — there’s the question of how CNN obtained it. According to reports, Michael Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, provided the tape to the network. There should be little doubt Davis did so in an attempt to frame the narrative in his client’s benefit, especially since he went to great lengths to interpret the contents of the recording, saying “repeatedly that Mr. Trump said ‘cash.'”

As the CBS article says, context matters. And context is exactly what is missing in the snippet. Despite everything Cuomo does during more than 10 minutes to interpret what is said, the recording is only two minutes long. We don’t know what was said before or after. In fact, if you listen to the recording, it is clear it cuts off at a moment when then candidate Trump had ore to say on the issue of payments. Funny how the recording cuts off just then. It sort of reminds you of the 18-minute gap in the Nixon Watergate Tapes doesn’t it? Did Cohen commit an “oops” and turn off the recording?

Or, as I suspect, did the rest of the recording not fit the narrative Davis wanted to create and so it was purposefully left off?

Then there’s the question of how the recording was so carefully queued up to the point where payments to former Playboy model Karen McDougal. I’m not saying Davis would do anything unethical but it is a question I’d like the former special counsel to Bill Clinton (and who defended him in the media during his impeachment) to answer.

Oh, there’s another question to be answered as well. Is this recording covered by attorney-client privilege? It might be argued, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Davis took this approach, that it doesn’t because the conversation was made with the intention of committing or covering up a crime or fraud. Except intent has not yet been adjudicated, at least not as far as I’ve heard. Nor was the recording released in the course of a judicial hearing to determine the intent of either party. No, this was a blatant attempt by Davis to manipulate facts to his client’s benefit and the media, in the form of Cuomo, was more than happy to oblige.

So what does the tape really say? If you listen to Cuomo and his verbal garbage gymnastics, you’d swear the recording shows Trump agreeing to cash payments to buy and silence the McDougal story. Except, does it really? As Cuomo admits, the recording’s quality is not good. Some of the President’s comments are muffled or garbled. The only person heard clearly is Cohen. There is little to no context and, as noted earlier, the recording ends abruptly.

In fact, there is more time spent on the discussion of an attempt to open the divorce proceedings between the President and Ivana Trump than there was about the supposed payment. Cuomo ignores that, and the fact Trump wanted to keep those details private, instead focusing on the more salacious alleged payment discussion.

Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Guiliani, called the leak of the recording “outrageous” and asked some of the same questions I have. His interpretation of the audio corresponds with what I believe I heard: Trump saying not to pay with cash and then saying “check”. More than that, he, too, questions why the recording ended when it did, saying the information we would have heard had it continued would have been exculpatory for the president.

So why didn’t we hear it? Was it because it wouldn’t fit the media’s narrative that the President is this horrid evil doer bend on destroying the country or because Davis was simply doing his best to control the narrative in a way that it best served his client?

As for me, well, I’ve lived long enough to know that, if true, this particular allegation against Trump isn’t the worst to be leveled against a sitting president, far from it. Funny how the media so conveniently forgets the antics of Slick Willy and Prince Jack, to name just a few.

One thing is clear. This recording, in its current form, is much ado about nothing. It tells us nothing. There is no context. The conversation isn’t complete. The tape hasn’t been checked for 1) authenticity and 2) tampering. But the media and those suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome are using it to once again rally the troops against the President.



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  • GWB says:

    I’m not saying Davis would do anything unethical
    Oooh! Ooh! I will!

    that it doesn’t because the conversation was made with the intention of committing or covering up a crime or fraud
    Except that paying a woman to keep her mouth shut about sex is neither a crime nor fraud.
    Public broaching of attorney-client privilege, however, IS grounds for a lawsuit AND disbarment.

    As Cuomo admits, the recording’s quality is not good. Some of the President’s comments are muffled or garbled. The only person heard clearly is Cohen.
    Which hints to me that the recording was made without Trump’s knowledge, and probably violates laws on recording conversations (very many states have a two-party consent rule – which I disagree with).

    But, I will say, this is why it would have been better to elect a decent gentleman than Trump. Of course, I didn’t see too many of those running, and the ones that were would not have fought for America as hard as Trump (no matter how well).

  • Amanda Green says:

    I was good. I refrained with great effort from saying Davis would do anything unethical. But I will sit here and smile, nod and even clap as you say it. ‘-)

    The only possible “intent” I can see the other side possibly trying to prove is an intent to use funds in such a way it violated the law regarding the use of campaign funds. But even there, they have to have intent on Trump’s part, not just on Cohen’s. And, tbh, it sounds more to me like Cohen was driving the boat to pay off whoever they’re discussing than Trump was.

    I also agree with you about it being better to elect a “decent gentleman” and that there aren’t many of those running. However, I will still take Trump over Shrillary any day of the week.

  • MikeyParks says:

    This country didn’t need a “decent gentleman” as president. We’ve had those and they seem to be decent but feckless. We needed a rough and tumble, street brawling, impolite tough guy, and we got him. Nobody else would do. We have accidentally gotten the EXACT right person for the job and he’s succeeding where sweet, polite guys would have failed. Thank God we didn’t elect a “decent gentleman.”

    • Amanda Green says:

      A decent gentleman can still get things done. But, as GWB said above, there aren’t any stepping forward. I want one with a spine of steel, who will stand up to the libs and others who don’t have the best interest of our country at heart. Until that happens, I’m glad we’ve got Trump.

  • searpea says:

    Sometimes the needs of the country call for an Andrew Jackson type.

  • Kristian Holvoet says:

    I am trying to imagine what I would need to hear on one of Cohen’s tapes to make me wish Turmp hadn’t won.

    I seriously don’t have any idea how it would have to be, but it must be worse than ANYTHING revealed or even alleged at this point.

    If someone generally decent like Mitt had been this effective or tenacious for us, I’d be over the moon. But you can’t always get a Jerry Rice. Some time you get Terrell Owens or Michael Irvin or Odell Beckham, Jr..

    • Amanda Green says:

      I have yet to hear anything about Trump that we don’t have evidence of certain Democratic demi-gods having done before him — and without any objections from the libs. When they start policing their own with the same fervor they go after Trump, I might start taking them seriously. When they start putting the good of this country ahead of their own agendas, I will at least consider what they have to say. For now, after 8 years of Obama, I’m glad to have someone like Trump in office where at least you know what he’s thinking and know he isn’t going to cower in a corner just because Pelosi or someone else told him to.

  • David H Dennis says:

    I’m a little surprised nobody has pointed out the curious fact that if this was contemporaneous with Trump’s divorce from his first wife Ivana, it must have occurred in 1991 or earlier.

    It’s fairly obvious that he was not running for President at that time, so there is no campaign finance law implication.

    Nice try, guys.

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