WSJ: Trump involved in Daniels hush deal

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that President Donald Trump directed an effort to stop adult film actress Stormy Daniels from publicly describing an alleged sexual encounter with Trump.

Posted: Oct 2, 2018 11:34 PM
Updated: Oct 2, 2018 11:58 PM

The news that President Donald Trump personally directed then-personal attorney Michael Cohen to seek a restraining order against Stormy Daniels to keep the porn star from telling her story of an alleged affair between the two is the latest example of just how little of what Trump and Cohen initially said about Daniels is actually true.

"Don't worry, I'll pay for everything," Trump told Cohen in February, according to a source with direct knowledge of the matter speaking to CNN's MJ Lee. (The Wall Street Journal first reported that Trump had instructed Cohen on how to handle Daniels.)

That phone call came almost two months BEFORE Trump issued a total and complete denial of any knowledge of the Daniels situation -- while aboard Air Force One. Asked whether he knew about the $130,000 payment Cohen made to Daniels to ensure her silence just 11 days before the 2016 election, Trump responded, "no." A follow-up question about where Cohen got the money to make the payment elicited this response from Trump: "You'll have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael is my attorney. You'll have to ask Michael."

Cohen eventually told prosecutors all he knew about the payment -- as part of a plea deal in which he pleaded guilty to two counts of campaign finance violations tied to the hush money payments he made to Daniels and ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal. And what he said was this: That he organized the payments "in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office." That candidate is, obviously, Trump. And, reminder: Cohen testified to Trump's involvement in the payoff scheme under oath -- where lying is a little thing called a felony.

(Sidebar: We also know that the money to pay off Daniels came to Cohen from Trump. How do we know? Because Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani told us, of course!)

What's abundantly clear here is that the answers Trump gave in April about what he knew regarding Cohen, Daniels and the payoff were simply not accurate. At all. By the time Trump said he knew nothing about the $130,000 or where it came from, Trump had, according to Cohen's sworn testimony, already coordinated the payment. And thanks to this new reporting, we also know that just two months before that April Air Force One chat, Trump had specifically directed Cohen to pursue a restraining order to keep Daniels from talking about the affair.

There's zero question then that Trump was purposely misleading and elusive when asked about the Daniels situation. He went out of his way to portray himself as a bystander in all of this, when he was, we now know, directing the entire thing along with Cohen.

At this point, it's clear that Trump -- and his legal team -- want this whole Stormy Daniels thing to disappear. Earlier this month, lawyers for both Cohen and Trump moved to dismiss the lawsuit brought by Daniels suggesting that Trump had defamed her via Twitter. Daniels would be free to tell her story as long as she returned the $130,000, according to Cohen's lawyer.

Michael Avenatti -- Daniels' lawyer, in case you have been living on a different planet for the last year -- resisted the move, writing: "Defendants' sudden desire to escape having to defend this action without any meaningful consequence reflects a profoundly troubling reality -- that Defendants have been shamelessly deceiving this Court and the American public for more than six months." (The presiding judge seemed to suggest late last month he might be willing to dismiss Daniels' suit.)

What seems likely to happen is that Daniels will be free to tell the story of her alleged affair with Trump in the mid-2000s. And Trump will, again, deny it ever happened. Whether people believe Daniels or Trump, many will simply shrug: We didn't vote for Trump because we thought he was the world's most moral guy. So even if the Daniels' story is true, who cares? We elected Trump to make American great again -- and he's doing it!

Which, I mean, I guess. But to me, the Stormy Daniels story is less about whether Trump did it or not than it is about the ways in which the President of the United States went way out of his way to keep the truth of his involvement in the entire thing from the general public.

And what's true beyond a shadow of a doubt now is that Trump knew more than he let on about Daniels, Cohen, the hush money and the restraining order. A whole lot more.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 296154

Reported Deaths: 6764
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19700230
Hinds18851392
Harrison16736281
Rankin12757265
Jackson12623228
Lee9694161
Madison9480203
Jones7990147
Forrest7234138
Lauderdale6837226
Lowndes6032140
Lamar589680
Lafayette5740113
Washington5220130
Bolivar4616124
Oktibbeha441593
Panola431995
Pearl River4178131
Warren4134115
Pontotoc410571
Marshall403592
Monroe3990127
Union396174
Neshoba3817169
Lincoln3552104
Hancock348975
Leflore3380118
Sunflower318986
Tate303174
Pike301296
Scott294570
Alcorn292263
Yazoo290565
Itawamba290175
Coahoma281169
Tippah279265
Copiah278758
Simpson276280
Prentiss270258
Wayne254341
Leake252871
Marion252778
Covington249580
Grenada247878
Adams234678
George232145
Newton230852
Winston221877
Jasper213645
Tishomingo212665
Attala206669
Chickasaw201453
Holmes182370
Clay179251
Stone172429
Tallahatchie171239
Clarke169371
Calhoun158028
Smith153033
Yalobusha145036
Greene127833
Walthall124340
Noxubee122831
Montgomery122639
Perry122135
Lawrence120321
Carroll118625
Amite111734
Webster110832
Jefferson Davis102231
Tunica99323
Claiborne98829
Benton93824
Humphreys92927
Kemper90323
Quitman77414
Franklin76119
Choctaw69817
Jefferson62727
Wilkinson62426
Sharkey49117
Issaquena1676
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 497154

Reported Deaths: 10029
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson714001387
Mobile36252736
Madison32573462
Tuscaloosa24289414
Montgomery22708519
Shelby22112215
Baldwin19856285
Lee15021155
Calhoun13755288
Morgan13742252
Etowah13379320
Marshall11439210
Houston10110262
Elmore9451185
Limestone9413136
St. Clair9003225
Cullman8979182
Lauderdale8610212
DeKalb8486175
Talladega7582165
Walker6571259
Jackson6542103
Autauga631391
Blount6229127
Colbert5998120
Coffee5259103
Dale4657107
Russell406433
Franklin399778
Covington3989106
Chilton3891100
Escambia378772
Tallapoosa3613143
Clarke343953
Chambers3423111
Dallas3419142
Pike293372
Marion288895
Lawrence284683
Winston258668
Bibb245960
Geneva240270
Marengo238357
Pickens225055
Barbour212951
Hale211969
Fayette201357
Butler201166
Henry182941
Cherokee177739
Monroe166639
Randolph164640
Washington156635
Macon147243
Crenshaw146254
Clay145554
Cleburne139741
Lamar133733
Lowndes132551
Wilcox122525
Bullock117236
Conecuh107024
Perry105927
Sumter99432
Coosa89624
Greene88532
Choctaw55123
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