A recording of President Donald Trump and his longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen, discussing a possible payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal was provided to CNN Tuesday by Cohen's attorney and longtime Clinton confidant Lanny Davis.
Fox News and other outlets confirmed the existence of the tape on Friday. A source has told Fox that no payment was ever made to McDougal.
On the recording, which was made prior to the 2016 presidential election, Cohen tells Trump: "I need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend David" and adds that he has consulted Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg "about how to set the whole thing up."
Cohen then starts to say: "When it comes time for the financing," at which point Trump cuts him off and says,"What financing?"
"We'll have to pay," Cohen responds.
What Trump says next is not clear, but it ends with the phrase "pay with cash."
"No, no, no, no, no, no," Cohen responds before the tape cuts off.
Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani told Fox News' "The Ingraham Angle" late Tuesday that Trump told Cohen, "Don't pay with cash" and slammed Cohen for making the recording "surreptitiously."
"There’s no way the president is going to be talking about setting up a corporation and then using cash unless you’re a complete idiot," Giuliani said, "and the president’s not an idiot."
"There’s no way the president is going to be talking about setting up a corporation and then using cash unless you’re a complete idiot -- and the president’s not an idiot."
The recording appears to be one of 12 seized from Cohen's apartment, office and hotel room by federal investigators in April and turned over to prosecutors on Friday.
"I don’t think anyone can suggest that this represents anything where the president did anything wrong, and that’s the reason why we waived [attorney-client privilege]," Giuliani told Fox News.
"Listen to the tape," Davis said in an interview with CNN. "Donald Trump is not shocked money is being paid about someone named Karen McDougal."
Davis added that Cohen "has been disparaged and insulted and called all kinds of things" but "he's got truth on his side and he'll continue to tell the truth."
"I question the strategy of doing this, of trying to make a tape say what it doesn't say, or of putting out a tape in which you're kind of proud of the fact that you’re a lawyer taping your client and then thinking you can cooperate with the government," Giuliani said. "You know, to cooperate with the government, you’ve got to have credibility. First thing that happens is, [Cohen's] going to be disbarred. … He’s a pariah to the legal profession."
"I question the strategy of doing this, of trying to make a tape say what it doesn't say, or of putting out a tape in which you're kind of proud of the fact that you’re a lawyer taping your client and then thinking you can cooperate with the government."
Cohen is under federal investigation over his alleged practice of paying women to stay silent about claims they had sexual relations with the married Trump. The investigation by federal prosecutors in New York is separate from an ongoing inquiry by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.
On the tape, Cohen's "David" appears to refer to American Media Inc. Chairman and CEO David Pecker. AMI, the parent company of the National Enquirer, agreed to pay McDougal $150,000 for her story about a 2006 affair with Trump. AMI never published McDougal's story, following a tabloid practice called "catch-and-kill."
McDougal later alleged that the Enquirer had tricked her into accepting the deal and had threatened to ruin her if she broke it. After she sued the tabloid in March, seeking to invalidate the contract, the Enquirer agreed to allow her to tell her story.
AMI's payment effectively silenced McDougal through the election, though days beforehand news of the deal emerged in the Wall Street Journal. At the time, a Trump spokeswoman said his campaign had "no knowledge of any of this."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.