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Seth Abramson @SethAbramson
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(THREAD) TEN REASONS THE FIRST COHEN TAPE IS MUCH WORSE THAN ANYONE YET REALIZES. Early coverage of this bombshell exclusive on CNN has missed almost the entirety of this story, which could shape Trump's presidency. Read on for more. And I hope you'll share this with others, too.
REASON #1: THERE ARE MORE TAPES. Team Trump is playing defense tonight as though this is all Cohen can hurt them with. It's not—Cohen only released this tape as a defense against false info about the tape leaked by Team Trump. And if Cohen taped Trump once, he did it many times.
REASON #2: A BAD PRIVILEGE WAIVER. Trump waiving attorney-client privilege to let Giuliani spread *false* info about the tape not only backfired by convincing Cohen's lawyer to release the tape, it could also hamstring Trump's claims of privilege on the McDougal matter later on.
REASON #3: COHEN IS FLIPPING. By preemptively burning Cohen—making up a lie about the McDougal matter which had Cohen suggesting a payment in cash—Team Trump has absolutely ensured what previously was just very likely: Cohen will flip on Trump. And he has *many* stories to tell.
REASON #4: THE AUDIO ESTABLISHES MOTIVE. CNN edited the audio to exclude some inculpatory moments—notably, Trump telling Cohen, of damning info on his past relationships, "all you've got to do is delay it for [inaudible]." That helps establish this as an *election*-related plot.
REASON #5: IT ADDS NEW WITNESSES TO THE CASE. In the audio, a woman's voice—possibly Rhona Graff's—is heard, meaning we now know someone else besides Cohen can testify about what Trump said in this conversation. An assistant gets him a Coke, too, so she may also be a witness now.
REASON #6: THE FULL AUDIO ESTABLISHES CONTEXT. CNN appears to have wrongly attributed a reference to "David" as meaning David Pecker, head of AMI. But when Cohen talks about "information regarding our friend 'David'" he's referring to Trump's alias for adulteries, David Dennison.
REASON #7: TEAM TRUMP DOUBLED THE DECEIT QUOTIENT. The audio puts Trump at the center of a pre-election plot to lie to voters about info that could have swayed their votes, but now it's even worse, as Trump sent Giuliani out to lie to voters about a tape they can hear themselves.
REASON #8: TRUMP CLEARLY PROPOSES AN ILLICIT CASH PAYMENT. Trump's state of mind—one-half what makes up a crime—is established by his comment about Ivana's divorce filings, but also by his *clear* attempt to propose an untraceable cash payment rather than (as Cohen says) a check.
REASON #9: IVANA'S RAPE ALLEGATIONS WILL NOW RETURN. That Team Trump was terrified, pre-election, of Ivana's divorce filing getting out—and Trump's muffled reference to "a woman" (likely Ivana) not wanting it out—will raise new questions about whether Trump paid *Ivana* off, too.
REASON #10: THE TAPE SUGGESTS MANY WOMEN, NOT JUST A FEW. Cohen repeatedly says that he needs to set up a company to deal with "all the stuff, all the stuff," which tells Americans that *many* more women than Karen McDougal were paid off by Trump pre-election—as Bannon has said.
BONUS REASON #1: SHELL CORPORATIONS. The calmness and ease with which Cohen and Trump discuss setting up shell corporations suggests this was a common method for hiding inculpatory evidence. Cohen is going to spill the beans on *all such corporations* to Robert Mueller, and soon.
BONUS REASON #2: A WOMAN. Though this is a very minor point, Trump's comment about Ivana—"you've got a woman who doesn't want it unsealed"—underscores how he speaks about women in private. Calling his first wife and the mother of three of his kids "a woman" is unsettling to hear.
BONUS REASON #3: MARK BURNS. The audio reveals that Trump wanted to continue to use as a campaign surrogate Mark Burns, who was found in early September 2016 to have lied about his military service, education, and more. Cohen shuts him down on that, but the exchange is *telling*.
BONUS REASON #4: GIVE IT TO ME. When Cohen raises using a shell corp to handle "all the information regarding our friend David [Dennison]"—the lies Trump told about his adulterous affairs—Trump says, cryptically, "give it to me," underscoring how involved he was and wanted to be.
BONUS REASON #5: ALAN WEISELBERG. We now have reason to think—due to what Cohen says on the tape—that Trump Org exec Alan Weiselberg was involved in Trump's conspiracy to violate election laws. So this tape has up to four witnesses who'll confirm Trump is lying about all of this.
CONCLUSION: Don't believe Trump's surrogates, stooges, or clandestine adviser-pundits: this is hard evidence of an election felony. The tape establishes motive, context, and state of mind for hiding from the FEC and voters unreported campaign contributions made by Cohen to Trump.
SOURCE: Here's the full audio of the First Cohen Tape—so described, here, because we can expect second, third, and subsequent Cohen Tapes. As this thread establishes, you need to listen to the whole thing to understand just how bad it is for the president.
NOTE: A reader observes that Cohen's choice of outlet for this exclusive—CNN—was also a hostile message (of disloyalty) to Trump. Likewise, this event brought cartoon character Lanny Davis into view; he's just the sort of theatrical guy Trump *doesn't* do well with—e.g. Avenatti.
NOTE2: A second reader observes, correctly I think, that "a woman" could just as easily (and creepily) refer to Melania as Ivana. I'll also note—on the subject of women—we don't know if Rhona merely stuck her head in (and was the one getting the Coke) or was there the whole time.
NOTE3: My admiration for @ChrisCuomo remains unchanged. I think this was a tough situation all around—Lanny Davis shoveled CNN the tape, and who knows how long they had to get their segments, graphics, and panels together. In the next 24 hours everyone on CNN will get this right.
NOTE4: Different news outlets seem to be spelling the name of the Trump Organization executive mentioned on the Cohen tape in about a hundred different ways. It looks like the proper spelling could be—if the Wall Street Journal is to be believed—"Allen Weisselberg." Just an FYI.
NOTE5: The possibility remains Cohen and Trump were discussing David Pecker—but whether it was Pecker or Dennison doesn't change the fact that the story Pecker killed was about McDougal, and he may've killed other stories, too. IAC, I'm on the fence on the Pecker/Dennison issue.
NOTE6: I forgot to make one of the most obvious points: this clearly isn't the first conversation between these two men on this topic, as Cohen is able to use shorthand in directing Trump to what "information" he's setting up a corporation to "transfer." Like I said: other tapes.
NOTE7: BTW, if "David" is David Pecker, and if Trump's "bus" comment refers to him, it reveals a startling fact: Trump thought his catch-and-kill deal with Pecker was so special (read: unethical) that no one else in journalism would be willing to do it if Pecker were unavailable.
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