A recording of the current president of the United States discussing a hush money payment involving a former Playboy model over an alleged affair was made public Tuesday night—and the biggest controversy is over the proposed method of payment. In the recording aired by CNN, Trump talks to attorney Michael Cohen about buying the rights to Karen McDougal's story about the alleged affair from the parent company of the National Enquirer, which paid $150,000 for it but never published it, the BBC reports. "So, what do we got to pay for this? One-fifty?" Trump says at one point. They discuss financing and Trump can be heard saying "pay with cash," but the recording is muffled and it's not clear exactly what the sentence was.
The recording was made around two months before the 2016 election and was among those seized in a law enforcement raid on Cohen's office. Cohen's lawyer, Lanny Davis, argues that the recording proves Cohen wanted to handle the payment legally, through a company created for the purpose, while Trump just wanted to pay cash, the Guardian reports. The payment was never made. The president's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, claims Trump did nothing wrong and was saying "don't pay cash." "That’s open to interpretation, and we can have a fight about that," he tells the Washington Post. He says he spoke to Trump Tuesday night and the president is "discouraged." "He's disappointed his own lawyer recorded him," Giuliani says. (Read more Michael Cohen stories.)