MSNBC panel: Michael Cohen's tapes are an 'insurance policy' to protect him from Trump
President Donald Trump and Michael Cohen, composite image. (Photo of Trump by Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

MSNBC's Craig Melvin had a fascinating panel to read the tea leaves following the bombshell report that the FBI has recording made by Donald Trump confidante Michael Cohen discussing a hush money payout to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who allegedly had an affair with Trump in 2006, shortly after Melania Trump gave birth.

Melvin was joined by MSNBC chief legal correspondent Ari Melber and the Rev. Al Sharpton, who had breakfast with Cohen hours before the New York Times published their story on the tape's existence.

"He reached out this last week and said, 'let's hook up and 'talk. I have known him for 20 years, he's the guy that when you are fighting with Donald Trump on some issues in New York, he'll set up the meeting and he was the go-to guy for Trump," Sharpton explained. "I think Cohen made it clear to many this morning that he's not going to be some sacrificial lamb for something that was done wrongly."

"I left there feeling that he's definitely going to say what he knows and means when he says," Sharpton added.

MSNBC chief legal correspondent Ari Melber dissected what could be deduced from Friday's revelation that the tape exists.

"If the New York Times story bears out that this recording was made, the legal question becomes why was the attorney recording his client this way?" Melber wondered.

"One of the ways that you protect attorney/client privilege is you keep it in your brain and you don't make too many detailed records, not usually recordings, because it could ultimately get in the wrong hands, get hacked, and be detrimental to your client, he explained.

"Kanye West said, 'I got a lawyer to keep what's in my safe, safe,'" Melber continued. "The question is, 'did Michael Cohen put these recordings in his safe for his client -- be that a Trump or a Kayne figure -- or did he do it to protect himself?"

"We've seen clues here, the ways this is leaking and coming out, this is to protect himself, which is fascinating and potentially bad news for the White House," he continued.

"An insurance policy of sorts," Melvin replied.