Tuesday, July 24, 2018

What is "the Charleston thing" Trump mentions in secret tape with Michael Cohen?

Context unclear in Trump's "Charleston thing"

Posted by Sam Spence on Tue, Jul 24, 2018 at 11:47 PM

In purportedly secret recordings made by an attorney close to President Donald Trump, Charleston is cryptically referred to twice in a conversation CNN says is related an affair with a former Playboy model.

Earlier this week it was reported that the FBI obtained recordings made by Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen, a figure deep inside the president's orbit with first-hand knowledge of the businessman-turned-politician's dealings. The longtime Trump ally has reportedly grown frustrated as investigators circle.

click to enlarge Cohen - CNN SCREENSHOT
  • CNN Screenshot
  • Cohen
Of course, someone else got ahold of those tapes. CNN's Chris Cuomo played a three-minute video the host said included "the entire recording" the network obtained. The tape was reportedly made in September 2016, weeks before the presidential election.

The recording begins with one side of a conversation where then-candidate Trump is heard discussing a news story he says is false before referring to "the Charleston thing" (at around 1:30 in the video above.) It's unclear who is on the other end of the conversation.

The next phase of the recording obtained by CNN documents a conversation between Trump and Cohen, which the network says relates to plans to buy the rights to a story about an affair between Trump and a woman.

Cohen says, "I told you about Charleston," before continuing to detail logistics for a related transaction (at around 2:45.)

"I need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend David," likely referring, CNN says, to a tabloid executive. Trump has been known to maintain cozy relationships with tabloid bigwigs who make big bucks trafficking in salacious celebrity details.

Trump has had business ties to the Charleston area in the past, but reportedly unloaded his only reported local investment earlier this year, according to P&C. The Trump name also loomed large in failed redevelopment plans for the former Naval Hospital in North Charleston, which has seen millions in taxpayer funds change hands with little to show for it.

There's already plenty of speculation about the exact details of the recording.

Surely soon we'll find out what "the Charleston thing" is.

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