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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: 320174

Reported Deaths: 7390
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22294271
Hinds20755424
Harrison18450317
Rankin13923282
Jackson13733249
Madison10273225
Lee10063176
Jones8473167
Forrest7837153
Lauderdale7263242
Lowndes6523150
Lamar636288
Lafayette6314121
Washington5427138
Bolivar4841133
Panola4671110
Oktibbeha466398
Pearl River4606148
Marshall4574105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425973
Monroe4162136
Union415877
Neshoba4065180
Lincoln4009113
Hancock387687
Leflore3516125
Tate342586
Sunflower339491
Pike3373111
Alcorn327474
Scott320374
Yazoo314571
Adams308486
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma299084
Simpson298689
Tippah292268
Prentiss284261
Leake272374
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264842
Grenada264087
George252451
Newton249064
Tishomingo232369
Winston230282
Jasper222148
Attala215173
Chickasaw210659
Holmes190574
Stone188733
Clay187954
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174232
Yalobusha167940
Smith164134
Walthall135447
Greene131834
Lawrence131224
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127538
Amite126342
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108334
Tunica108127
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96729
Franklin85023
Quitman82316
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69632
Jefferson66328
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 549013

Reported Deaths: 11311
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson810461571
Mobile42145831
Madison35718525
Tuscaloosa26179458
Shelby25626254
Montgomery25089614
Baldwin21901314
Lee16287176
Calhoun14724327
Morgan14639285
Etowah14183364
Marshall12454230
Houston10791287
Elmore10301214
Limestone10188157
St. Clair10161251
Cullman9958201
Lauderdale9612250
DeKalb8977190
Talladega8462184
Walker7341280
Autauga7242113
Jackson6953113
Blount6950139
Colbert6415140
Coffee5638127
Dale4930116
Russell454941
Chilton4478116
Franklin431782
Covington4279122
Tallapoosa4144155
Escambia401880
Chambers3728124
Dallas3610158
Clarke353161
Marion3245107
Pike314578
Lawrence3134100
Winston283572
Bibb268564
Geneva258481
Marengo250665
Pickens237062
Barbour234559
Hale227178
Butler224671
Fayette218962
Henry194443
Randolph187644
Cherokee187345
Monroe180641
Washington170739
Macon163051
Clay160159
Crenshaw156357
Cleburne153644
Lamar146937
Lowndes142254
Wilcox126930
Bullock124542
Conecuh113630
Coosa111629
Perry108626
Sumter105832
Greene93634
Choctaw62125
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