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.

Confirmed Cases: 94021

Reported Deaths: 2846
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds6979155
DeSoto542555
Harrison374372
Jackson339967
Madison321286
Rankin319375
Lee261067
Jones242778
Forrest239570
Washington218171
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Lauderdale2007124
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Lamar163534
Neshoba1540103
Panola144527
Sunflower142144
Lowndes140357
Warren138150
Leflore137080
Pontotoc123616
Pike121348
Monroe118965
Scott116425
Copiah116333
Coahoma112827
Holmes109258
Marshall107615
Lincoln106853
Grenada106235
Yazoo103929
Simpson101443
Union97824
Tate95537
Leake94037
Adams92136
Wayne87721
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Marion84133
Prentiss81517
Covington80922
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Newton75923
Tallahatchie75718
George75113
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Tishomingo66137
Chickasaw65624
Tippah64516
Attala64125
Walthall59425
Clay58117
Hancock56421
Jasper55515
Noxubee54315
Clarke53739
Smith52414
Calhoun50612
Tunica48113
Montgomery45520
Claiborne45216
Lawrence42512
Yalobusha41814
Perry40918
Quitman3755
Humphreys37315
Stone35711
Greene34617
Webster33113
Jefferson Davis32811
Carroll31212
Amite31110
Wilkinson30217
Kemper28615
Sharkey26312
Jefferson2439
Benton2201
Franklin1893
Choctaw1795
Issaquena1033
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 131988

Reported Deaths: 2304
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19123337
Mobile13122290
Montgomery8688173
Madison763075
Tuscaloosa7323114
Lee575159
Shelby571950
Baldwin508749
Marshall387943
Calhoun337439
Etowah336547
Morgan321426
Houston272722
Elmore255847
DeKalb237119
St. Clair224335
Walker224380
Talladega207726
Limestone200119
Cullman186218
Dallas174926
Franklin174528
Russell17312
Autauga169124
Lauderdale165333
Colbert160926
Escambia156425
Blount156014
Jackson151611
Chilton150227
Dale133343
Covington131127
Coffee12838
Pike11619
Tallapoosa113683
Chambers113242
Clarke105517
Marion94828
Butler91138
Barbour8387
Winston71612
Marengo70119
Lowndes64927
Pickens63814
Bibb63610
Randolph62212
Hale61528
Lawrence59220
Bullock59114
Geneva5814
Monroe5768
Cherokee56916
Clay5527
Washington54913
Perry5386
Wilcox53111
Conecuh52411
Crenshaw52331
Macon47820
Henry4754
Fayette4269
Sumter41819
Lamar3532
Choctaw34512
Cleburne3326
Greene30015
Coosa1653
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