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Michael Cohen Secretly Taped Trump Discussing Payment to Playboy Model

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The Justice Department is investigating the involvement of President Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, in paying women to tamp down embarrassing news stories about Mr. Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The F.B.I. seized the recording this year during a raid on Mr. Cohen’s office. The Justice Department is investigating Mr. Cohen’s involvement in paying women to tamp down embarrassing news stories about Mr. Trump ahead of the 2016 election. Prosecutors want to know whether that violated federal campaign finance laws, and any conversation with Mr. Trump about those payments would be of keen interest to them.

The recording’s existence appears to undercut the Trump campaign’s denial of any knowledge of payments to the model. It further draws Mr. Trump into questions about tactics he and his associates used to keep aspects of his personal and business life a secret. And it highlights the potential legal and political danger that Mr. Cohen represents to Mr. Trump. Once the keeper of many of Mr. Trump’s secrets, Mr. Cohen is now seen as increasingly willing to consider cooperating with prosecutors

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