The Really Bad News for Donald Trump on the Michael Cohen Tape

In addition to providing more evidence that Trump knew about the Enquirer’s dealings with McDougal, which his campaign denied just before the election, it implicates other Trump Organization executives in schemes that could possibly have violated campaign-finance laws.

.. None of this hinges on the issue that Lanny Davis and Rudy Giuliani ..  whether Trump was captured saying, to Cohen, “pay with cash” or “don’t pay with cash.”

.. Federal prosecutors would surely be interested in obtaining an insider’s account of the Enquirer scheme, even if it wasn’t consummated.

.. Cohen could conceivably cut a deal with the Southern District, in which he would provide information that could also be shared with other federal prosecutors, including Robert Mueller, the special counsel.

.. Davis said to NBC News that the content of the Cohen-Trump tape “sounds like a John Edwards case.”

.. the fact that Davis is now drawing a parallel will surely set off alarm bells in the White House.

.. The other bad news for Trump is that Cohen, in making arrangements to pay off the Enquirer, doesn’t appear to have been working alone. “I need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend David,”

.. “And I’ve spoken to Allen Weisselberg about how to set the whole thing up with . . . funding.”

Weisselberg is the longtime chief financial officer of the Trump Organization.

.. If what Cohen said is accurate, he appears to have discussed with Weisselberg a way to route the proposed payment to A.M.I. through a shell company set up specifically for the purpose, which is what he did in making the payment to Daniels.

.. the tape does drag Weisselberg and the Trump Organization further into the murk, which can’t be good news for 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.”

Federal probe of Fox News focuses on potential disguising of harassment payout

Federal prosecutors are looking into whether Fox News Channel and its parent company tried to disguise a $3.15 million payment to a former employee who said she had a 20-year affair with the network’s former chairman, Roger Ailes, according to people involved with the investigation.

Investigators in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York have focused on a payment to Laurie Luhn, a former Fox booker and event planner who left the company in 2011 with the seven-figure severance package. Luhn later claimed that she had engaged in a consensual but a mentally abusive, relationship with Ailes and that several of his lieutenants facilitated the assignations and were aware of his alleged mistreatment of her.

.. A series of such payments could be considered material not because of their size but because they could raise concerns among investors about the stability of the company’s management or finances.

Scope of Federal Probe into Fox News Broadens

Federal investigators have interviewed network executives and on-air talent, asking about sexual-harassment settlements

.. In an interview with the Journal, Ms. Luhn said Mr. Ailes harassed her and subjected her to “psychological torture” for years. She said Mr. Shine took steps to keep her from talking to the press, moving her between hotel rooms and at one point calling her father to arrange her placement in a psychiatric-care facility in Texas against her wishes. Eventually her lawyer negotiated a settlement with Fox. Ms. Brandi signed it while Messrs. Ailes and Shine signed a general release of known and unknown claims that was part of the separation agreement.
.. Mr. Kranz was given immunity by prosecutors for speaking to them, people familiar with the matter said. He left the network last year after an internal inquiry found that he was involved in making settlement payments to Mr. Ailes’s alleged victims without the parent company’s knowledge, the people said.