The Cohen Tapes 📼

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Trump & Stormy background

In January 2018, the Wall Street Journal revealed the existence of a non-disclosure agreement between adult film actress Stormy Daniels and Donald Trump that was signed just before the 2016 election. Daniels proceeded to sue President Trump and his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, arguing that their NDA was invalid. For signing the NDA, Daniels was paid $130,000 to stop her from discussing an alleged affair she had with Trump in 2006.

Trump's old lawyer flips?

On Friday, the New York Times revealed that Cohen had secretly taped a conversation with Trump in which they discussed the payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal. The FBI seized the recording when they raided Cohen’s apartment earlier this year as they have been attempting to search for evidence of campaign finance violations by President Trump. The big question is: who leaked the tape, Cohen or the FBI?

The right leans heavily on Trump’s statements disparaging both the FBI and Cohen for “totally unheard of & perhaps illegal behavior.” The right continues to side with the President who says “your favorite President did nothing wrong.” Right-leaning media believe the witch hunt continues and that, at worst, the tapes are powerful exculpatory evidence for Trump, despite the fact that the right calls the very existence of the tapes illegal. 

The left believes that the recording undercuts Trump’s denial of knowledge of the existence of a payment to Daniels, although they also acknowledge Trump didn’t know he was being recorded and that the 2 minute-long tape doesn’t prove Trump definitively knew before the conversation about the payment to Daniels. The left takes the stance that Cohen leaked the tape, showing yet another Trump loyalist that was flipped in the ongoing investigation. 

A higher standard for our elected officials?

This story is reminiscent of the scandal around former vice-presidential nominee John Edwards. In 2008, Edwards admitted to having an extramarital affair but denied to having fathered a child. In 2010, Edwards finally backtracked and admitted to being the child’s father. Trump and Edwards are only two examples of a much larger issue of scandals that seem to permeate all levels of our elected officials. Regardless of who you believe or support, can’t we all agree that we should have higher standards for who we choose to nominate and elect as our public officials?

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