Now, the Trump tapes!
When the President's lawyer, who was once his closest aide, keeps secret tapes, matters get curious by the minute. The story, on its face, seems to be this: In the waning months of the 2016 election, Donald Trump and Michael Cohen talked about paying off former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal, who alleged an affair with Trump, to keep her quiet. Cohen was, of course, used to setting up clandestine deals such as these for his boss as he had done in the past. The tryst with porn star Stormy Daniels being a case in point. But the bigger story here is not that one conversation between Trump and his fixer. The big story here is that Cohen secretly recorded a conversation with Trump and this was not the only conversation he taped. And, certainly not the only conversation that might be of interest to special counsel Robert Mueller. That means any recorded conversations between him and Trump is potentially problematic. It also means that Cohen's conversation with other "powerful" individuals has the potential to contain a bombshell or two as well. But, given Cohen's reputation as a secret-keeper willing to walk very close to the line of what's legal, the fact that he secretly recorded a series of conversations with the man who is now President of the United States (and other "powerful" people) is a very, very big deal. The existence of the recorded calls and their potential to be leaked should also worry the Trump White House and anyone else who said anything to Cohen over the phone as that might become problematic if it went public. The fact that the FBI is in possession of these audio records, likely obtained in the massive search and seizure operation conducted in Cohen's establishments, almost certainly came from one of two places: The FBI or Cohen. If it came from the Cohen side, that provides yet more evidence that the man who once said he would take a bullet for Trump may be softening in his commitment to his former boss amid the possibility of significant jail time. It is, therefore, significant that earlier this month, Cohen had said, "I put family and country first." The implication of that statement is not all that hard to decipher. This is a new Michael Cohen with a new attitude about speaking his mind. And, he is not scared. A Cohen freed from his almost-sycophantic relationship with Trump could be dangerous, not to mention the likes of Donald Trump Jr and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner. And, Cohen's possession of recordings he secretly taped conversations with Trump as well as other "powerful" people is a prospect that should send a shiver of fear through the Trump world. There are plenty who should be apprehensive.