Trump-Cohen feud: Taped discussion of payoff to Playboy model triggers open warfare

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WASHINGTON – The feud between President Donald Trump and his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, erupted into open warfare Wednesday with the airing of a taped conversation the two men had in 2016.

The tape intensified scrutiny over efforts to quiet a former Playboy model’s allegation that she had an affair with Trump more than a decade ago. It also added to expectations that Cohen is preparing to cooperate with prosecutors examining the business practices of the lawyer, who was long known as Trump’s “fixer.”

Cohen’s shift in allegiance has created an atmosphere of anxiety in a White House already under siege.

The president’s friends and associates said they were watching the Cohen saga with a mixture of annoyance and worry. At this point, some said, Cohen – who once boasted he would “take a bullet” for Trump – may have an advantage because the White House does not know precisely what information he might have or what he might tell prosecutors.

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