Maggie Haberman: Secret Trump-Cohen Tape Was the Most Captivating Testimony of the Day

According to CNN commentator and New York Times reporter, Maggie Haberman, the secret recording between former President Donald Trump and his then-fixer, Michael Cohen, was described as “the most dramatic testimony of the day” at Trump’s trial.

Thursday did not go well for the prosecution in the Stormy Daniels hush money-election interference trial, as remarked by several analysts. The trial is being prosecuted by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and presided over by Judge Juan Merchan.

During the trial, the jury was presented with a recording of a conversation between Trump and Cohen. This particular recording, as Haberman puts it, was quite remarkable. In the recording, Trump can be heard discussing the arrangement of a cash payment to David Pecker, the publisher of the National Enquirer.

During her appearance on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 on Thursday night, Haberman acknowledged that the prosecution faced a challenging day. However, she emphasized that the Cohen tape provided the most compelling and dramatic evidence.

COOPER: Maggie, what was it like in court today?MAGGIE HABERMAN: It’s surreal every day, but I would say that the strangest moment came toward the end of the day, and it was a rough day of testimony. Keith Davidson, the former lawyer for Stormy Daniels, testified for a long time, and Trump’s lawyers actually did get some dings into him on cross-examination. It got very tense. He got very flustered. He ended up sounding pretty weaselly as he was giving answers.But prosecutors played this exchanges between – that Cohen secretly taped. One was with Keith Davidson and then the other was Michael Cohen and Trump, which you just played. And that tape is basically what jurors were left with as the most dramatic testimony for the day.There was some other not particularly interesting testimony at the very end, as you say, from a custodian of records, basically saying that he had checked out Cohen’s phone and that it was all forensically true that this material came from it. But we still don’t really know what the jury thinks, and I think that’s something really important to bear in mind.COOPER: You described the Cohen-Trump recording as a doozy.HABERMAN: Well, I mean, look, we’ve heard this tape for …COOPER: Which, again, is a legal term.HABERMAN: … so – right, thank you for clarifying it for me. It’s been six years almost today that we know about this tape, and so it’s obviously not new to us. But I think when you were hearing it, A, as a juror and, B, in the context of that courtroom, it just sounded very different, particularly at a time when Trump’s lawyers were arguing that this was essentially all just Keith Davidson and Michael Cohen.They didn’t make this argument explicitly, but they were leaning into the idea that these two were just freelancing and that Davidson was essentially extorting Trump. And so that didn’t get dispelled from that tape, but the idea that Trump didn’t know would have.

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