On Friday, The New York Times published a report about how the FBI is in possession of a recording of a conversation Michael Cohen had with Donald Trump about paying a Playboy model who claimed to have had an affair with him. The article eventually states that the woman in question is Karen McDougal, which raises some questions as to just what on earth was going on here.
McDougal, as you’ll recall, said she had a 10-month relationship with Trump back in 2006 and 2007. In 2016, she signed a contract that was basically a hush agreement with AMI, the publisher of the National Enquirer. That deal gave the Enquirer the rights to McDougal’s story. She was no longer allowed to talk about it, and the tabloid sat on the story, effectively burying it in the months before the election.
McDougal signed her deal on August 6, 2016, three months before the presidential election, yet the Times report indicates that the recorded conversation took place two months before the election. Why would Cohen and Trump be discussing the idea of paying someone who already got paid? It doesn’t make sense, which is why I think there is more to the story here.
Another issue is the fact that both the Times in their reporting of the tape and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani‘s response to the tape refer to “payments.” As in, plural. Why would they be considering multiple payments? Could it be that McDougal wasn’t the only one they were talking about, if they were even talking about her at all?
A New York Magazine piece in May 2018 speculated that Trump could have been involved with former Playboy model Shera Bechard. Bechard had reportedly signed an agreement–using the same attorney as McDougal and Stormy Daniels, and the same aliases as the ones used in Daniels’ agreement–to keep quiet about a relationship of her own. The man involved has been said to have been Trump associate and Republican fundraiser Elliot Broidy, but the NYMag writer wondered if Trump was really the man involved.
Could it be that Trump and Cohen were talking about payments to McDougal and Bechard? Or perhaps someone else entirely Certainly, there’s nothing to confirm this one way or the other, but the news about the recorded conversation does raise a lot of questions.
[Image via Spencer Platt/Getty Images]
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.