CNN has obtained a 2016 audio recording of Donald Trump and his former attorney Michael Cohen, in which the two can be heard having a conversation about buying the rights to a story from former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who says she had an affair with Trump.
The New York Times first reported on the existence of the recording last week, but Trump said it was "inconceivable" that a lawyer like Cohen would secretly record a client like that. Despite the comments, the recording was leaked by CNN on Tuesday evening.
"I need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend David," Cohen is heard saying on the tape—which CNN points out is likely a reference to American Media head David Pecker. Trump then asks Cohen, "What financing?" Cohen tells Trump, "We'll have to pay." Trump is heard responding, "Pay with cash."
The conversation between Trump and Cohen surrounds a debate about whether Trump should buy the rights of McDougal's story from tabloid publisher American Media, which paid her $150,000 for details of the affair.
According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, McDougal and American Media agreed to a deal in which the tabloid would publish her fitness columns in exchange for keeping the Trump story quiet. Cohen is rumored to have helped arrange the deal, which took place a month before the secret recording was made. McDougal finally sued to get out of the agreement so she could talk freely about the ordeal in April 2018.
You can watch CNN's full report on the leaked recording above and hear the isolated audio below.