But … but …
Hope Hicks to @WSJ in November 2016 on AMI payment to Karen McDougal: “We have no knowledge of any of this." https://t.co/zBBIeNh9Ia
— Rebecca Ballhaus (@rebeccaballhaus) July 20, 2018
The first point to emphasize about this NYT scoop is that Trump and Cohen were apparently chatting about a payment to Karen McDougal, not to Stormy Daniels. A recording of Trump chatting about paying Stormy would be a big deal as it would prove knowledge of the hush-money deal, something Trump has consistently denied. It would also leave him on the hook for an unreported campaign contribution, a violation of federal law. McDougal, however, never received any money from Trump or Cohen. Her payoff came from his cronies at the National Enquirer, part of the “catch and kill” deal in which they bought the rights to her story about a relationship with Trump and then never ran it.