So the video above is from MSNBC’s The Last Word, which I thought did a pretty good job of breaking this whole thing down.
I also thought it might be helpful to present the entire transcript to you courtesy of WaPo:
TRUMP: [In background] Good. Let me know what’s happening, okay? Oh, oh. Maybe because of this it would be better if you didn’t go, you know? Maybe because of this. For that one, you know — I think what you should do is get rid of this. Because it’s so false what they’re saying, it’s such bulls—. Um. [PAUSE] I think, I think this goes away quickly. I think what — I think it’s probably better to do the Charleston thing, just this time. Uh, yeah. In two weeks, it’s fine. I think right now it’s, it’s better. You know? Okay, hun. You take care of yourself. Thanks, [Unintelligible]. Yup, I’m proud of you. So long. Bye.
[Into phone] What’s happening?
COHEN: Great poll, by the way.
COHEN: Seen it. Great poll.
TRUMP: Making progress.
COHEN: Big time.
TRUMP: And, your guy is a good guy. He’s a good —
COHEN: Who, Pastor Scott?
TRUMP: Can’t believe this. No, Pastor Scott. What’s, what’s happening —
COHEN: No —
TRUMP: Can we use him anymore?
COHEN: Oh, yeah, a hundred — no, you’re talking about Mark Burns. He’s, we’ve told him to [UNINTELLIGIBLE].
TRUMP: I don’t need that — Mark Burns, are we using him?
COHEN: No, no.
FEMALE: Richard [UNINTELLIGIBLE]. I’m sorry, Richard [UNINTELLIGIBLE] just called. He — just when you have a chance, he had an idea for you.
TRUMP: Okay, great.
COHEN: Um, so, we got served from the New York Times. I told you this — we were …
TRUMP: To what?
COHEN: … To unseal the divorce papers with Ivana. Um, we’re fighting it. Um, [Trump attorney Marc] Kasowitz is going to —
TRUMP: They should never be able to get that.
COHEN: Never. Never. Kasowitz doesn’t think they’ll ever be able to. They don’t have a —
TRUMP: Get me a Coke, please!
COHEN: They don’t have a legitimate purpose, so —
TRUMP: And you have a woman that doesn’t want this.
TRUMP: Who you’ve been handling.
COHEN: Yes. And —
TRUMP: And it’s been going on for a while.
COHEN: About two, three weeks now.
TRUMP: All you’ve got to do is delay for —
COHEN: Even after that, it’s not ever going to be opened. There’s no, there’s no purpose for it. Um, told you about Charleston. Um, I need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend, David, you know, so that — I’m going to do that right away. I’ve actually come up and I’ve spoken —
TRUMP: Give it to me and get me a [UNINTELLIGIBLE].
COHEN: And, I’ve spoken to Allen Weisselberg about how to set the whole thing up with …
TRUMP: So, what do we got to pay for this? One-fifty?
COHEN: … Funding . . . Yes. Um, and it’s all the stuff.
TRUMP: Yeah, I was thinking about that.
COHEN: All the stuff. Because — here, you never know where that company — you never know what he’s —
TRUMP: Maybe he gets hit by a truck.
COHEN: Correct. So, I’m all over that. And, I spoke to Allen about it, when it comes time for the financing, which will be —
TRUMP: Wait a sec, what financing?
COHEN: Well, I’ll have to pay him something.
TRUMP: [UNINTELLIGIBLE] pay with cash …
COHEN: No, no, no, no, no. I got it.
TRUMP: … check.
[Tape cuts off abruptly. Separate recording begins.]
MALE: Hey Don, how are you?
So that is the entire tape from start to finish.
I have already heard a number of experts and pundits pick it apart on both MSNBC and CNN, and there is a lot to work with here.
The first thing to realize is that this is clearly one of many tapes that Cohen had in his possession, most of which are now in the hands of the feds.
Secondly, it is clear that despite what Hope Hicks said months ago, Donald Trump absolutely knew about the payment to Karen McDougal and even seems to have participated in deciding how the payoff would be delivered.
Thirdly, due to the other voices on the tape, we now know there are other witnesses to what transpired who may be of interest to the investigators.
The fourth thing of immediate interest is the mention of Allen Weisselberg, who is a long time Trump confidant and has been working for the family since the 1970’s.
Here is more from Bloomberg:
Weisselberg isn’t a bit player in Trumplandia and his emergence on the Cohen-Trump recording – as someone possibly facilitating a scheme apparently meant to disguise a payoff – should worry the president. Weisselberg has detailed information about the Trump Organization’s operations, business deals and finances. If he winds up in investigators’ crosshairs for secreting payoffs, he could potentially provide much more damaging information to prosecutors than Cohen ever could about the president’s dealmaking.
As I noted in a column in April, the press and others have sometimes characterized Cohen as the man who knows all of Trump’s secrets or even, errantly, as someone who ran the Trump Organization with the president’s children. Not so.
Weisselberg, on the other hand, has worked for the Trump family since the 1970s, and knows more about the Trump Organization’s history and finances than nearly anyone. Almost 71 years old, he joined the company after graduating from college and worked for the president’s father, Fred, as an accountant. He has since become the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer and one of the president’s closest business confidants (alongside Jason Greenblatt, who was Trump’s in-house legal counsel before the president named him as a special diplomatic envoy to the Middle East).
Weisselberg also served as treasurer of the president’s troubled philanthropy, The Donald J. Trump Foundation, which the New York State Attorney General has sued for allegations involving “extensive and persistent violations of state and federal law.” The suit says the foundation routinely and willfully broke the law by engaging in self-dealing that ultimately came to include illegal coordination with Trump’s political campaign. Weisselberg hasn’t been charged with any wrongdoing.
Now that Wesselberg’s name has come up on this tape, it is a certainty that investigators will want to interview him.
Which is significant, because if Michael Cohen knows where the bodies are buried, Allen Wesselberg knows how and when they died, and even arranged for the dirt to bury them.