The now-famous, recently released recording of Donald Trump talking to Michael Cohen about payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal is THE TALK OF THE TOWN, everyone. Do we know what the talk will be? No, but we do know there will be a lot of yelling and saying the other side’s interpretation is wrong. Do we know what they’re talking about on the tape itself? Not really. Honestly, this thing raises a lot of questions that we’re gonna need to answer. SO LET’S BREAK THIS THING DOWN.
First, here’s the full video of the CNN breaking news (wow, this time it actually was breaking news!) including the recording:
Full audio: Presidential candidate Trump is heard on tape discussing with his attorney Michael Cohen how they would buy the rights to a Playboy model's story about an alleged affair Trump had with her years earlier, according to the audio recording "https://t.co/YmC0QuDqTx pic.twitter.com/fBbq7r1Lq9— Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) July 25, 2018
Here are the 10 questions that ABSOLUTELY need answers, with those answers below.
1. When did this recording take place?
The first week of September 2016. We know this because they reference a good CNN poll, and a CNN poll showing Trump up by 2 points came out on September 6th. Also, there’s talk of Pastor Mark Burns, and whether or not they can keep using him as a surrogate. A few days before that poll was released, Burns was caught falsifying parts of his bio.
2. Who is David?
The biggest thing everyone’s talking about is the discussion of Michael Cohen setting up a company for “the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend David."David is David Pecker, who owns the National Enquirer, and purchased the exclusive rights to the Karen McDougal story so that he could not run the story, effectively burying it for his friend Trump.ORRRRR, maybe it’s not that David. We don’t know! It could totally be a different David. Cohen says "our friend David,” which suggests it’s a mutual friend of theirs. These guys aren’t on Facebook so we can’t just look this up, but I mean, I know like six people named David. It really could be anyone. You have to admit, this tape doesn’t prove anything on that front.
3. Did Donald Trump ask for a Coke?
Now we’re getting into the meat of the thing. After they start talking about the New York Times trying to unseal Trump’s divorce papers with Ivana (don’t worry about it, not important, just dumb legal stuff or something), Trump yells out, “Get me a Coke, please!”
OR DOES HE? Is it “Coke”? Is he talking about Coca-Cola, the soft drink? Is he talking about the drugs? Maybe he’s talking about the Koch brothers. Like, “Get one of the Koch brothers in here, please."Or rather, a more accurate reading of that would be, "Get me anyone at all from the Koch family in here, please.”
Also, who is he talking to? Does anyone even hear him? Does he get a Coke or Koch family member later in the recording? No. We’ll never know.
4. Who smashed Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame?
This guy. He’s in custody. No one really cares. This is completely unrelated to the Trump/Cohen tape, actually. I mean, I get that it’s an entertaining distraction, but, come on let’s stay on track.
Also, maybe this kind of violence is unproductive? I mean, what’s it really accomplish? Let’s get back to the real work of deciphering this poorly recorded audio where these two people talk about money being handled in ways that may or may not violate campaign finance laws. Right?
5. Wouldn’t someone prefer not to talk about something like this so they can maintain plausible deniability?
Uh… yeah. That’s a good point. Cohen also brings it up in a way that suggests Trump already knew about it. So they probably talked about it more than once. That was probably… not the best move?
6. How is Trump’s team responding to this?
Poorly! Cause don’t forget, for some reason, Trump’s team is largely Rudy Giuliani right now. And that’s usually a disaster. So this is no different:
Rudy: Believe me there were three other versions of this tape that were even worse. pic.twitter.com/ap0hlRuZQ8— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) July 25, 2018
7. But who REALLY destroyed Trump’s Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Again, this is one of the easiest questions to answer in a storm of difficult (again, unrelated) questions here. It was this guy:
8. What about “coat”? Could he have been saying “coat”?
Wow. Great question. Hadn’t thought of that. He totally could’ve said “coat” instead of “coke.” Maybe it’s cold outside, and he’ll be going outside after this meeting about maybe or maybe not setting up a hush money fund for a former Playboy model he cheated on his wife with. Now, no one obviously brings him a coat by the end of the recording, but this is certainly an interesting question.
9. Where does this fit into the Russia stuff?
Oof. No idea! Does it? Maybe. The FBI investigation of Michael Cohen is actually a completely separate investigation from the one about Russian interference. BUT, if prosecutors could get Cohen to turn on Trump, WHO KNOWS what kind of stuff he’ll say? And all these recordings they seized from his office (apparently this is one of 12) could theoretically be used in either or both investigations.
10. Will this change anything? Maybe this will get Trump impeached, or reunite all those kids seeking asylum with their parents, or give Flint clean drinking water or something?
What? No. Definitely not. Don’t be ridiculous.