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USA - Donald Trump - The noose is tightening: Analysis: 2 troubling questions for Trump in light of the new Michael Cohen tape revelation - by Aaron Blake

We've known for a while Michael Cohen taped some of his conversations and investigators had those tapes. What we did not know was whether a tape of President Trump was included or whether the two discussed legally problematic things.

We now know the answers to those questions: Trump was, and they did.

The Washington Post has confirmed that potential turning point of a story. Investigators have a tape of Cohen and Trump discussing purchasing the rights to Playboy model Karen McDougal's story of an alleged affair with Trump from the National Enquirer's parent company, about two months before the 2016 election. The New York Times first reported the story. Trump attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani confirmed the tape exists but said it is actually “exculpatory,” because Trump suggests the payment should be documented, and the payment was not actually made.

Our understanding of Trump and Cohen's arrangement was that Cohen handled these matters while deliberately leaving Trump in the dark. That is the defense that has been offered in the case of porn star Stormy Daniels, who actually did get a payment from Cohen. It also seemed to be the Trump team's defense for McDougal. “We have no knowledge of any of this,” spokeswoman Hope Hicks said when it was revealed the National Enquirer had paid for McDougal's story.

That denial has now fallen apart; Trump clearly knew about the Enquirer paying for the story, given he was talking about buying the rights to it. And if Cohen kept Trump in the dark about Daniels, why wouldn't he also keep Trump in the dark about McDougal? Why wall it off for the porn star but not the Playmate? That doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Read more: Analysis: 2 troubling questions for Trump in light of the new Michael Cohen tape revelation

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