Donald Trump-Stormy Daniels Affairs Allegations

Donald Trump-Stormy Daniels Affairs Allegations

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Updated Jun 20, 2019 at 02:28PM EDT by Kevinvq2.

Added Jan 17, 2018 at 01:13PM EST by Adam.

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Overview

Donald Trump's Alleged Sexual Encounter with Stormy Daniels refers to the scandal surrounding the allegation that Donald Trump had sex with porn star Stormy Daniels in 2006, a year after he married Melania Trump, and his campaign during the 2016 United States Presidential Election paid Daniels $130,000 to not speak of it.

Background

On January 12th, 2018, the Wall Street Journal[1] reported that Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen had arranged to pay porn star Stormy Daniels, real name Stephanie Clifford, $130,000 in exchange for her silence about a sexual encounter she had with Trump in July of 2006 in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, one year after Trump had married Melania, and four months after she gave birth to Barron Trump. Cohen did not address the rumored payout but said in a statement that both Trump and Clifford denied the allegation. Cohen provided a statement from Clifford in which she denied the allegations of a payout, writing:

"My involvement with Donald Trump was limited to a few public appearances and nothing more. When I met Donald Trump, he was gracious, professional and a complete gentleman to me and EVERYONE in my presence. Rumors that I have received hush money from Donald Trump are completely false. If indeed I did have a relationship with Donald Trump, trust me, you wouldn't be reading about in the news, you would be reading about it in my book. But the fact of the matter is, these stories are not true."

Developments

While Clifford denied the allegations, stories confirming the affair had been circulating in media well before the Wall Street Journal's report. CNN[2] reported that Fox News reporter Diana Falzone had submitted the story to Fox News editors in October of 2016 and had the story corroborated by Clifford's manager Gina Rodriguez, but Fox News never ran the story, claiming they could never verify it. The New York Times[3] reported that Jacob Weisberg, editor in chief of the Slate Group, confirmed that Clifford had interviewed with Slate between August and October of 2016 about the affair, and confirmed that Cohen had agreed to pay her $130,000 for her silence. However, before Slate ran the story, Clifford ceased communication with the publication.

Furthermore, InTouch[4] has an interview from 2011 in which Clifford confirmed the sexual encounter. Their evidence confirming Clifford's truthfulness includes corroborations by Daniels' friend Randy Spears and her ex-husband Mike Moz. Clifford also took and passed a polygraph test at the time of the interview. According to sources familiar with the matter, InTouch will be running the unedited, 5,500-word interview they conducted with Clifford, which includes details of Trump's performance in bed and "pillow talk." Another portion of the interview which generated headlines is a section where Clifford says "We had really good banter. He told me once that I was someone to be reckoned with, beautiful, smart, just like his daughter," referring to Ivanka Trump. (cover shown below).


EXPLOSIVE FIRST-PERSON INTERVIEW on STORMY DANIELS MY AP PR FIRST BUM PHOTOS! XCLUSIVE ARIE SPILLS SHADY BACHELOR SECRETS DONALD "HE WAS SITTING ON THE BED. AND WE STARTED KISSING" 1 HLOE 'S WORST O.J. FINALLY AKI PATERNITY TEST Secret hotel hookups! How they hid it from Melania WILL THE FIRST LADY FILE FOR DIVORCE?

The story has been covered by multiple major news publications, including Mother Jones,[5] Daily Beast,[6] and Twitter Moments.[7]

InTouch Interview

On January 18th, 2018, InTouch magazine posted the unedited transcript of Clifford's interview with them from 2011 about her affair with Donald Trump.[8] Clifford described Trump's performance in bed as "textbook generic," though she described him as nice in their conversation beforehand and that he attempted to get her on The Apprentice. According to Clifford, afterwards, Trump attempted to contact her several times to initiate more hook ups but it never worked out.

One of the stories in the interview that caught the attention of media organizations was Trump's intense fandom of Discovery Channel's Shark Week. After meeting with Clifford to let her know he could not get her on The Apprentice, she alleges he was glued to watching Shark Week.

The strangest thing about that night -- this was the best thing ever. You could see the television from the little dining room table and he was watching Shark Week and he was watching a special about the U.S.S. something and it sank and it was like the worst shark attack in history. He is obsessed with sharks. Terrified of sharks. He was like, “I donate to all these charities and I would never donate to any charity that helps sharks. I hope all the sharks die.” He was like riveted. He was like obsessed. It’s so strange, I know.

The Shark Week anecdote was covered by Uproxx[9] and The Daily Dot.[10]

Forbes Magazine Spanking Rumor

The same day the InTouch interview was published, Mother Jones[11] posted an article about emails from 2009 they had uncovered from political advisors to Clifford, Andrea Dubé and a second, anonymous consultant, who exchanged anecdotes about Clifford's alleged sexual encounter with Trump. In addition to the Shark Week anecdote, one of the consultants says Clifford told them that Trump asked to be spanked with a copy of Forbes Magazine.


Max donors com> Fri, May 8, 2009 at 3:33 PM 0: m> Yep. She says one time he made her sit with him for three hours watching "shark week." Another time he had her spank him with a Forbes magazine On 5/8/09, om> wrote: Donald Trump? In her cell phone? mailt com] From Sent: Friday, May 08, 2009 1:13 PM > To: > Subiect: Re: Max donors > Stormy andhave them. These were all out of her cell phone. Should have > heard her go through the list. It was nuts. Any rat > call time guy btw. Y'all should talk soon. His number is >Tomorrow would be good eis a natural born > Great- do you need numbers for them? > From > Sent: Fridav, May 08, 2009 12:48 PM > To: stormy > Subject: Max donors [mailto om] om >Here is the list of potential max donors we compiled to go ahead and call.

The anonymous consultant further alleges that Trump asked to be spanked with a copy of Forbes magazine with himself on the cover. Mother Jones identified a 2006 issue of Forbes featuring Donald, Ivanka, and Donald Trump Jr. on the cover as the possible magazine in question.


Forbes SPECIAL ISSUE 400 THE RICHEST PEOPLE IN AMERICA BACK NE THIS YEAR'S LIST 100% BILLIONAIRES THE REAL APPRENTICES THE LOWDOWN ON WHAT HES REALLY WORTH

Michael Cohen's Delaware LLC

According to a report published by the Wall Street Journal[12] on January 18th, Michael Cohen used private company Essential Consultants LLC to pay Clifford $130,000 on October 17th, 2016, two weeks prior to the election. The report alleges Cohen and Clifford used pseudonyms to complete the transaction.

Common Cause Complaints

On January 22nd, 2018, political watchdog group Common Cause filed a pair of complaints to the Justice Department and Federal Elections Commission that the alleged $130,000 sum paid to Clifford two weeks prior to the election amounted to an in-kind campaign donation that was illegally undisclosed on official reports of the Trump campaign's finances.[13] They argue that because the money was paid so as not to damage the chances of Trump in the general election, they should be considered campaign money. An attorney for Common Cause, Paul Ryan (not to be confused with House Speaker Paul Ryan), compared the situation to to the events that led to North Carolina senator John Edwards' prosecution over $1 million he paid to cover up an affair he had with videographer Rielle Hunter.[14] Edwards was acquitted of the charges. Republican campaign finance lawyer Jan Baran countered Common Cause's argument, saying that in both Trumps and Edwards' cases, "money spent for a candidate is not necessarily money spent for a campaign and, therefore, is not a regulated contribution or expenditure. Both times the purpose of the expense was highly personal, to say the least, and not campaign related in the legal sense."

On January 22nd, Citizens For Ethics tweeted that the Trump campaign transferred $130,000 to Trump businesses, sarcastically suggesting it was "probably just coincidence" (shown below).


Citizens for Ethics @CREWcrew CREW Follow President Trump is accused of paying $130,000 in hush money to p--- star Stormy Daniels to hide an affair a month before the election. In what is probably just a coincidence, the Trump campaign transferred $130K to the Trump businesses a month after the election Full Name (Last, First, Middle Initial) B, TRUMP TOWER COMMERCIAL LLC Date of Disbursement Mailing Address PO BOX 1926 12 21 2016 tate FEC Identification Number HICKSVILLE Purpose of Disbursement NY 11802 Transaction ID:SB23.460244 Candidate Name Amount of Each Disbursement this Period Category/ Type Office Sought: Disbursement For 130888.33 House Senate President Primary xGeneral Other (specify) ▼ Memo Item State District: 11:41 AM -23 Jan 2018

Daniels' Kimmel Appearance

On January 30th, 2018, Clifford (as Daniels) released a statement of denial of an affair with Trump. The letter was posted by Buzzfeed News editor Tom Namako on Twitter[16] after it was acquired by investigations reporter Anthony Cormier (shown below).


Tom Namak。 @TomNamako Follow Stormy Daniels (going on Kimmel tonight after Trump's State of the Union) issues a new statement saying she is denying having an affair with Trump not because of a settlement but because "it never happened." She would also like you to follow her on Instagram. From @a cormier Official Statement of Stormy Daniels January 30, 2018 To Whom lt May Concern Over the past few weeks I have been asked countless times to comment on reports of an alleged sexual relationship I had with Donald Trump many, many, many years ago The fact of the matter is that each party to this alleged affair denied its existence in 2006, 20011, 2016, 2017 and now again in 2018. 1 am not denying this affair because I was paid "hush money as has been reported in overseas owned tabloids. I am denying this affair because it never happened I will have no further comment on this matter. Please feel free to check me out on Instagram at @thestormydaniels Thank you, Stormy Daniels

The text of the statement reads:

To Whom It May Concern:
Over the past few weeks I have been asked countless times to comment on reports of an alleged sexual relationship I had with Donald Trump many, many, many years ago.
The fact of the matter is that each party to this alleged affair denied its existence in 2006, 20011 [sic], 2016, 2017 and now again in 2018. I am not denying this affair because I was paid ‘hush money’ as has been reported in overseas owned tabloids. I am denying this affair because it never happened.
I will have no further comment on this matter. Please feel free to check me out on Instagram at @thestormydaniels.
Thank you,
Stormy Daniels

Later that evening, she appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live to discuss the allegations. During the interview, Kimmel noticed the signature on the statement did not look like Daniels' signatures on other documents Kimmel provided. When Kimmel bluntly asked if she had signed the document, Daniels replied "I don't know… did I?" and also said "That does not look like my signature." The interview continued in this fashion with Daniels giving non-committal answers, leading Kimmel to conclude that she may have signed a non-disclosure agreement (shown below).



Later that evening, Cormier tweeted a response from Daniels' lawyer, who stated that “Stormy did indeed sign both denials. … I thought stormy did a fantastic job on Jimmy Kimmel tonight. She was having fun on Kimmel and being her normal playful self.”[17] The story was covered by Daily Dot[18] and Uproxx.[19]

Michael Cohen's Admission

On February 13th, 2018, The New York Times[20] reported that Michael Cohen admitted in a statement to them that he'd paid Stormy Daniels the rumored sum of $130,000 dollars. He claimed he did this out of his own pocket and was not reimbursed for the payment, and it was not a campaign expenditure. He said the Trump Campaign and Trump Organization were not a aware of the transaction. Cohen still argued that the affair didn't happen, saying "Just because something isn’t true doesn’t mean that it can’t cause you harm or damage. I will always protect Mr. Trump.” He then refused to answer the Times' follow-up questions, "including whether Mr. Trump had been aware that Mr. Cohen made the payment, why he made the payment or whether he had made similar payments to other people over the years." Cohen said he made a similar statement to the Federal Elections Commission and that the complaint made by Common Cause that the payment acted as a sort of in-kind campaign contribution had no legal basis. He stated he would not make further comment regarding the matter.

News organizations were skeptical of Cohen's excuse. CNN[21] wrote that the explanation "didn't pass the smell test," writing:

Don't overthink it. Cohen -- out of the goodness of his heart!!!! -- dropped a six-figure payment to a porn star even though he didn't believe her allegations that she and the President had an affair after the birth of his son Barron? I mean, come on.

The Washington Post[22] found that Cohen's lack of denial that Trump had anything to do with the payment was a potential implication of the President in the deal. They raised the possibility that Cohen's language left room for interpretation that he had been a middle man in a larger transaction, and suggested it was highly doubtful that Cohen would make such a payment without Trump knowing about the transaction.

Daniels' Lawsuit Against Donald Trump

In a lawsuit filed March 6th, 2018 to a Los Angeles court,[23] Daniels claims the hush agreement she had with Trump is non-binding because Trump never signed the document. Attached to the lawsuit is the full hush agreement negotiated between Trump, Daniels, and Cohen. The agreement uses pseudonyms--Trump's pseudonym is "David Dennison" and Daniels' is "Peggy Peterson." A side letter agreement reveals the true names. "David Dennison" did not sign the agreement as "Peggy Peterson" had on October 28th, 2016. Because of this omission, Daniels believes she is free to discuss the affair she had with Trump.

The inclusion of Trump in the agreement undermines Cohen's claim that he had paid the hush money out of his own pocket without Trump's knowledge.[24] Additionally, the lawsuit came one day after The Wall Street Journal[25] reported that Cohen's payment to Daniels was marked as suspicious by the Treasury Department and that Cohen had privately complained that he had not been reimbursed for the hush money.

The morning of March 7th, Daniels' lawyer Michael Avenatti appeared on The Today Show to discuss the lawsuit. He alleged that Daniels and Trump did have an affair and argued it was "ludicrous" for Cohen to suggest Trump did not know about the payment.




The news led to several popular Reddit threads,[27][28] with one gaining over 40,000 upvotes.[26] The news also was posted to Twitter Moments[29] the following morning.

A hearing for the lawsuit is set to be heard in the Los Angeles Supreme Court on July 12th, 2018.

Bubba the Love Sponge Clem Interview

On March 14th, 2018, CNN[32] reported that Daniels had appeared on a 2007 radio show in Florida with local host Bubba the Love Sponge Clem in which she discussed her affair with Donald Trump. Clem played segments from the interview on his show on March 9th and March 12th. Though neither Clem nor Daniels mentioned Trump by name, the details in the interview align with details Daniels provided about her affair with Trump. CNN verified Clem's assertion that Daniels was talking about Trump.

Daniels' Crowdfunding Campaign

On March 13th, 2018, Daniels launched a crowdfunding campaign on CrowdJustice[30] for legal fees for her lawsuit against Trump. In her statement on CrowdJustice, Daniels wrote that she offered to return the $130,000 of hush money she received from Michael Cohen in order to be able to speak freely of her affair with Trump. Cohen did not acknowledge the offer. She also accuses Cohen of threatening her with a $1 million fine for every time she spoke openly about Trump. She requests funds for "attorneys' fees; out-of-pocket costs associated with the lawsuit, arbitration, and my right to speak openly; security expenses; and damages that may be awarded against me if I speak out and ultimately lose to Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen." The campaign was covered by The Daily Beast.[31]

60 Minutes Interview

On March 25th, 2018, CBS' 60 Minutes aired an interview with Daniels in which she detailed her affair with Trump.[32] In the interview, Daniels detailed how their meetings were consensual but she was never attracted to Trump. She described the affair as "practically a business deal." She went into detail about the methods with which Trump associates threatened her to keep her from talking about the affair, confirmed the rumor that Trump asked to be spanked with a copy of Forbes magazine, and also confirmed the rumor that Trump had said she reminded him of his daughter, Ivanka.



Internet users joked about the more salacious details of the interview and also remarked that the interviewer, Anderson Cooper, appeared as though he were trying not to laugh during the interview. Twitter reactions were shared under the hashtag #StormyDanielsDay[33] and were covered by Uproxx.[32]


Isaac @Worldoflsaac Follow Anderson's face >Cooper: YOU-YOU TOLD DONALD TRUMP TO TURN AROUND AND TAKE OFF HIS PANTS Carly Booth C @carly_booth8 Follow 35 "You remind me of my daughter." #StormyDanielsDay I just threw up in my mouth a little bit GIF


"Dilated Pupils" Conspiracy Theory

Following the 60 Minutes interview, some online claimed that Daniels was high on drugs during the taping, citing her pupils, which appeared to be dilated as evidence. Twitter[34] user @j3nnp4c3 tweeted at Daniels's lawyer Michael Avenatti a close-up picture of Daniels during the interview (shown below, left) with the caption "I would urge your client to lay off the crack while on tv. Even the bright lights couldn't shrink those coked out pupils😂😂😂😂" Twitter[35] user @mjgranger1 also posted a picture (shown below, center) with the caption ".@60Minutes Stormy Daniels’ pupils are so large, even with bright lights in her face, you can’t see her iris’s. Can you say “medication?” .@realDonaldTrump."

Conspiracy theorist Mark Dice tweeted[35] a variation of the Cocaine, Marijuana, Beer meme with Daniels's eyes in the first box. He captioned the post, "What's up with this floozy Stormy Daniels' massively dilated pupils during her 60 Minutes interview?" The post (shown below, right) received more than 1,100 retweets and 2,300 likes in two days.


Replying to @MichaelAvenatti @StormyDaniels @60Minutes I would urge your client to lay off the crack while on tv. Even the bright lights couldn't shrink those coked out pupis @60Minutes Stormy Daniels' pupils are so large, even with bright lights in her face, you can't see her iris's. Can you say "medication?" .@realDonaldTrump What's up with this floozy Stormy Daniels' massively dilated pupils during her 60 Minutes interview? STORMY COCAINE er MARIJUANA

This theory has been debunked because there is no way to to know for sure what caused her pupils dilate. Studies show the pupils dilate because of emotional changes or memory, which is a more common reason for pupil dilation than drugs.[37] When people attempt to retrieve an old memory or remembering an old question, both processes that an interviewee undergoes, their pupils can dilate.

Assistant professor at LSU Megan Papesh said:

"It is absolutely wrong to assume that someone is on drugs (legal or illegal) based on dilated pupils […] There is simply no way to know for sure what caused her pupils to dilate. Being interviewed for 60 Minutes is surely exciting or nerve-wracking, and both of those would reasonably cause dilation."

Several media outlets covered the conspiracy theory, including The Daily Dot,[38] Business Insider, The Daily Mail[39] and more.

Michael Cohen Raided by FBI

On April 9th, 2018, the FBI raided Michael Cohen's office and New York City hotel room, seizing business records, emails, and documents related to the Stormy Daniels case.[40] In a statement, Cohen's lawyer Stephen Ryan said he was told by federal prosecutors that the action was "in part, a referral by the office of special counsel, Robert Mueller." Donald Trump spoke to reporters about the raid later that day, criticizing the ongoing FBI investigation as a "witch-hunt," criticized Attorny General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the Russiagate investigation and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and once again floated the idea of firing Robert Mueller.[41] Federal guidelines suggest Rosenstein would have approved the raid. The following morning, Trump tweeted "Attorney-client privilege is dead!" and "A TOTAL WITCH HUNT!!!" (shown below).


Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump Follow Attorney-client privilege is dead! 8:07 AM - 10 Apr 2018 Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump Follow A TOTAL WITCH HUNT!!! 8:08 AM - 10 Apr 2018

It is unclear as of April 10th what the FBI hopes to find and what information they had to prompt the raid. Former US Attorney Preet Bahara, who served in the Southern District of New York was quoted as saying "It's being done because people think it's very serious, people think it's totally warranted and people think there's evidence of a significant enough nature that you're going to risk doing something sensitive like raiding a law office."[42]

Sketch of Man Who Threatened Stormy Daniels

On April 17th, 2018, while appearing on The View, Daniels released a police sketch of a man who she claims threatened her to keep silent about Donald Trump (shown below).


leon but, early 40s

Twitter user @yashar tweeted the image that day, gaining over 320 retweets.[43] After the tweet was posted, Twitter users joked about who the sketch looked like. Many of the jokes stated that the sketch looked like Tom Brady, quarterback of the New England Patriots (examples shown below).


Cowbell King @cowbell543 Follow Tom Brady really needs to go f--- himself. Yashar Ali@yashar 5. This is the man Stormy Daniels says threatened he. Show this thread Mujahed Kobbe @Moj_kobe Follow H-------- ITS TOM BRADY Yashar Ali@yashar 5. This is the man Stormy Daniels says threatened he. Show this thread

Other Twitter users identified other celebrities. Comedian Michael Ian Black tweeted it looked like self-help guru Tony Robbins, gaining over 100 retweets (shown below, left). User @BecketAdams joked it looked like the character Mark from The Room (shown below, right).


Michael lan Black @michaelianblack Follow TONY ROBBINS!!! Yashar Ali@yashar 5. This is the man Stormy Daniels says threatened he. Show this thread T. Becket Adams e @BecketAdams Follow oh hai, mark Yashar Ali@yashar 5. This is the man Stormy Daniels says threatened he. Show this thread 1:09 PM 17 Apr 2018

On April 18th, Twitter[44] user @ShennaFoxMusic tweeted a picture of the sketch next to a photograph of Daniels's husband. Within 24 hours, the post (shown below, left) received more than 1,600 retweets, 1,300 comments and 3,500 likes in 24 hours.

President Trump tweeted,[45] "A sketch years later about a nonexistent man. A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!" Additionally, he retweeted the post by @ShennaFoxMusic. The post (shown below, right) received more than 13,000 retweets and 44,000 likes in 24 hours.


Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump 10h There is a Revolution going on in California. Soooo many Sanctuary areas want OUT of this ridiculous, crime infested & breeding concept. Jerry Brown is trying to back out of the National Guard at the Border, but the people of the State are not happy. Want Security & Safety NOW! DeplorablyXScottish @ShennaFoxMusic Replying to @realDonaldTrump Oops! This is awkward! @StormyDaniels's Ex #IDTheThug Donald J. Trump o @realDonaldTrump A sketch years later about a nonexistent man. A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)! Deplorably>XScottish @ShennaFoxMusic Replying to @realDonaldTrump Oops! This is awkward! @StormyDaniels's Ex #IDTheThug


Defamation Lawsuit

On April 30th, Daniels filed a defamation lawsuit against Trump about calling her a "con job."[65] The suit stated, "Mr. Trump's statement is false and defamatory. Mr. Trump used his national and international audience of millions of people to make a false factual statement to denigrate and attack Ms. Clifford." On October 15th, 2018, S. James Otero, a federal judge in California,[66] dismissed the lawsuit, stating Trump's tweet was protected by the First Amendment.

"If this court were to prevent Mr. Trump from engaging in this type of 'rhetorical hyperbole' against a political adversary, it would significantly hamper the office of the president. Any strongly-worded response by a president to another politician or public figure could constitute an action for defamation."

The decision also included the demand that Daniels pay Trump's legal fees.

On Twitter, Daniels' lawyer Michael Avenatti announced his plan to appeal the decision to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.[67]

Trump reacted by calling Daniels "Horseface" and announcing plans to attack her other lawsuit about the hush money agreement in Texas (shown below, left). Avenatti responded by calling Trump a "disgusting misogynist" and asking how many women Trump had affairs with while Barron Trump was a baby (shown below, right).


Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump Follow "Federal Judge throws out Stormy Danials lawsuit versus Trump. Trump is entitled to full legal fees." @FoxNews Great, now I can go after Horseface and her 3rd rate lawyer in the Great State of Texas. She will confirm the letter she signed! She knows nothing about me, a total con! 2:04 PM-16 Oct 2018 Michael Avenatti @MichaelAvenatti Follow You are a disgusting misogynist and an embarrassment to the United States. Bring everything you have, because we are going to demonstrate to the world what a complete shyster and liar you are. How many other women did you cheat on your wife with while you had a baby at home? twitter.com/realdonaldtrum

Fifth Amendment Plea

On April 25th, 2018, Michael Cohen said that he would plead the fifth in the case regarding payments to Stormy Daniels. The Fifth Amendment gives Cohen the right to remain silent as to not incriminate himself.[51]

Donald Trump's Fox & Friends Call

On April 26th, 2018, President Trump made an on-air phone call to the Fox News morning show Fox & Friends.[46] During the 30-minute discussion, Trump defended Michael Cohen, whom he described as a "good guy" and a "businessman," as well as to discuss other matters of policy and the Russia investigation.




The interview was not well received by some in the news media. CNN[47] described it as "beyond unhinged." Esquire[48] described the talking points Trump made during the interview:

"In no particular order, he threatened to bring the Justice Department under his personal control; praised his magnificent performance in office; defended his nominee to run the VA even though said nominee already had pulled his name from consideration; threw Michael Cohen overboard; admitted he had spent that fateful night in Moscow at the Miss Universe pageant; ranted about the crimes of James Comey, the perfidy of Jon Tester, and the rank dishonesty of the media; and explained to the nation that Abraham Lincoln had been a Republican, which, 'people don’t realize.'"

Some online mocked the president's demeanor during the interview. Video editor Jesse McLaren tweeted, "I replaced Donald Trump’s audio with the entire speech from Network and…enjoy." He included a video of the remix (shown below).


Stormy Daniels's lawyer Michael Avenatti tweeted that the interview, particularly the mentions of Michael Cohen working for him, could cause a legal issue for Trump. He tweeted,[49] "Thank you @foxandfriends for having Mr. Trump on this morning to discuss Michael Cohen and our case. Very informative." This first tweet (shown below, left) received more than 10,000 retweets and 52,000 likes in 24 hours.

The second tweet refuted a previous claim made by Trump that he had nothing to do with the Stormy Daniels issue. Avenatti wrote, "Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen previously represented to the American people that Mr. Cohen acted on his own and Mr. Trump knew nothing about the agreement with my client, the $130k payment, etc. As I predicted, that has now been shown to be completely false. #basta." The post (shown below, right) received more than 9,000 retweets and 30,000 likes in 24 hours.


Michael Avenatti @MichaelAvenatti Thank you @foxandfriends for having Mr. Trump on this morning to discuss Michael Cohen and our case. Very informative. Michael Avenatti @MichaelAvenatti Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen previously represented to the American people that Mr. Cohen acted on his own and Mr. Trump knew nothing about the agreement with my client the $130k payment, etc. As I predicted, that has now been shown to be completely false. #basta

Giuliani and Trump Admit to Payout

On May 1st, 2018, Rudy Giuliani, who was recently hired by President Trump to be one of his lawyers, appeared on Sean Hannity and confirmed that Trump had reimbursed the $130,000 hush money Michael Cohen made to Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 Presidential Election. However, he did so out of his personal funds and did not do so with campaign money or money from the Trump Organization (quote shown below).[52][53]

Having something to do with paying some Stormy Daniels woman $130,000, I mean, which is going to turn out to be perfectly legal. That money was not campaign money, sorry, I’m giving you a fact now that you don’t know. It’s not campaign money. No campaign finance violation… They funneled through a law firm, and the president repaid it. Sean, everybody was nervous about this from the very beginning. I wasn’t. I knew how much money Donald Trump put into that campaign, and I said, “$130,000? He could do a couple of checks for $130,000.” When I heard of Cohen’s retainer of $35,000 when he was doing no work for the president, I said, that’s how he’s repaying -- that’s how he’s repaying it with a little profit and a little margin for paying taxes for Michael… He didn’t know about the specifics of (the arrangement), as far as I know. But he did know about the general arrangement, that Michael would take care of things like this.

This directly contradicted a statement Trump made in April in which he said he had no knowledge of the payment Cohen made to Daniels.[54] In a followup interview with The Washington Post,[55] Giuliani confirmed that him saying the President had repaid the money was not an accident and that he'd planned with Trump to say what he did in a public forum.

Costa: So the president is not angry with what you said tonight? He was well aware you’d bring it up?
Giuliani: Oh, yeah, yeah. Sure, sure. He was well aware that at some point when I saw the opportunity, I was going to get this over with.
Costa: Is that what you had talked about with him in recent days?
Giuliani: Probably four or five days ago.

Following the interview, Trump tweeted a statement admitting to the payment and reaffirmed the payment did not come from campaign money.[56] The three tweets read:

Mr. Cohen, an attorney, received a monthly retainer, not from the campaign and having nothing to do with the campaign, from which he entered into, through reimbursement, a private contract between two parties, known as a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA. These agreements are…..

…very common among celebrities and people of wealth. In this case it is in full force and effect and will be used in Arbitration for damages against Ms. Clifford (Daniels). The agreement was used to stop the false and extortionist accusations made by her about an affair,……

…despite already having signed a detailed letter admitting that there was no affair. Prior to its violation by Ms. Clifford and her attorney, this was a private agreement. Money from the campaign, or campaign contributions, played no roll in this transaction.

Twitter users noticed that the date of the payment, October 27th, 2016, came the day before the bombshell James Comey Letter about Hillary Clinton's Email Investigation which came out two weeks before the election and arguably played a large role in its outcome. Giuliani appeared to be aware of the upcoming Comey Letter when he appeared on Fox News on October 26th and said "We got a couple things up our sleeve that should turn this around."[57] Twitter users argued that the timing of the payment made could possibly make it a legal issue, as if the payment had political motivations, the fact it was not disclosed could still violate campaign finance law.


Chris Megerian @ChrisMegerian Follow The core legal issue with the Stormy Daniels payoff is whether the money served a political purpose and is therefore a campaign finance violation because it wasn't disclosed. 9:11 AM-3 May 2018

Online, Redditors took to memeing the interview by grabbing a screenshot where Giuliani appeared surprised. A post on /r/MemeEconomy with the template gained over 7,100 points (shown below, left). A post to /r/dankmemes with the template gained over 500 points (shown below, right).


FOX NEWS FOX NEWS ALERT channel ANTANAMO BAY TO SAUDI ARABIA... AHMED MOHAMMED AL-DARBI, WHO HAS BEEN IN U.S. CUSTOD REAKING NEWS: NEW STUDY SAYS TRAPS ARE GAY BXNEWS ALERT NEWS

Stormy Daniels Arrest

On July 11th, 2018, Daniels was arrested as part of an undercover sting operation for violating an Ohio law which states performers who perform nude or semi-nude are forbidden from touching patrons of the establishment where they are performing.[58] Three detectives attended The Siren Gentlemen's Club in Ohio where Daniels was performing. There, they witnessed her force patrons' faces into her breasts as part of her act. According to court documents, the detectives then approached the stage, and Daniels shoved two of their faces into her breasts and smacked them in the face with her breasts. This led to three misdemeanor charges against Daniels, who then posted her $6,000 bail, and the charges were dropped Thursday morning, according to Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti.

Avenatti tweeted that he suspected the arrest was politically motivated, as the actions by Daniels had been performed in "hundreds" of strip clubs. Twitter user @paleofuture tweeted that the arrest seemed "exactly what authoritarian countries do to government opponents," gaining over 7,500 retweets and 15,000 likes (shown below, right).


Michael Avenatti @MichaelAvenatti Follow Just rcvd word that my client @StormyDaniels was arrested in Columbus Ohio whole performing the same act she has performed across the nation at nearly a hundred strip clubs. This was a setup & politically motivated. It reeks of desperation. We will fight all bogus charges. #Basta 1:47 AM-12 Jul 2018 Matt Novak @paleofuture Follow You're going to see a lot of jokes about this, but this is exactly what authoritarian countries do to government opponents. Haul them in on unrelated minor offenses to harrass them into shutting up. 宴 CBS News@CBSNews WATCH: Stormy Daniels was arrested on Thursday for allegedly allowing a customer at an Ohio strip club to touch her cbsn.ws/2LbYRIt 0:50 8:45 AM-12 Jul 2018

Planned Arrest Allegations

On July 25th, the local The Fayette Advocate newspaper reported that a whistleblower had provided emails indicating that the arrest of Stormy Daniels had been planned by local law enforcement. The emails, many of which were from Detective Shana Keckley, one of the lead officers in the arrest, outlined numerous discussions about Daniels appearance in Columbus, Ohio days before her arrest.

“The emails definitely show that the police lied about it being a prostitution and human trafficking mission,” said the whistleblower.

In a July 12th email, one officer wrote, "You’re Welcome!!!!!….Thank me in person later."

That day, Daniels's lawyer Michael Avenatti tweeted, "This is extremely disturbing. I intend on getting to truth and the bottom of who ordered @StormyDaniels arrested and why. It appears that I was correct when I stated it was politically motivated. #Basta." The post (shown below) received more than 9,500 retweets and 26,000 likes in 24 hours.


Michael Avenatti @MichaelAvenatti This is extremely disturbing. I intend on getting to truth and the bottom of who ordered @StormyDaniels arrested and why. It appears that I was correct when I stated it was politically motivated. #Basta Derek Myers@DerekMyers EXCLUSIVE: Whistleblower comes forward with emails from @ColumbusPolice that show @StormyDaniels' arrest was pre-planned. @MichaelAvenatti says, "We will get to the bottom of this one way or the other." thefayetteadvocate.com/2018/07/25/whi

Michael Cohen Guilty Plea

On August 21st, 2018, President Trump's former lawyer and onetime campaign chairman Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight crimes, admitting to paying off two women, Daniels and Playboy Playmate Kaen McDougal, "in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office," he said.

Detractors of President Trump celebrated the guilty plea, along with the conviction of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, which happened almost simultaneously (examples below).


Ubbo Ubbo @TheRealUbboUbbo Art of the Plea Deal By Michael Cohen This Michael Cohen tweet didn't age well... Michael Cohen @MichaelCohen212 Followv @HillaryClinton when you go to prison for defrauding America and perjury, your room and board will be free! 10:03 PM-19 Dec 2015 4 p.m. PLEA HEARING for Michael Cohen. I am leaping up and down in my house

President Trump responded to the news by denouncing Cohen. On August 22nd, he tweeted, [61] "If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen!" The tweet (shown below) received more than 19,000 retweets and 70,000 likes in less than five hours.


Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump Follow If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don't retain the services of Michael Cohen!

Stormy Daniels' Book

On September 18th, 2018, The Guardian[61] published excerpts from Daniels' book about her relationship with Trump, Full Disclosure. In their report, The Guardian details Daniels' disbelief at Trump's success during the election and the danger she felt causing her to sign the $130,000 hush money agreement. She also relates stories about how Trump offered to help her cheat to win Celebrity Apprentice and offers the opinion that when she knew him, "there was nothing that made him seem as petulant and prone to tantrums as he has been as president." Daniels' attorney Michael Avenatti tweeted his praise of Daniels (shown below).


E. 's Michael Avenatti Follow MichaelAvenatti The most important thing about @stormydaniels book is not the description of her sex with Mr. Trump. It is instead her description of her life and role as a modern woman unafraid to speak truth to power. I am proud to call her my client and my friend 11:43 AM 18 Sep 2018

Trump's Penis Comparison to Toad

One of the most salacious excerpts published is Daniels' description of Trump's penis:

"He knows he has an unusual penis,” Daniels writes. “It has a huge mushroom head. Like a toadstool…
I lay there, annoyed that I was getting fucked by a guy with Yeti pubes and a dick like the mushroom character in Mario Kart…"

This quote grabbed the internet's attention, and shortly after it was published, articles about it were posted to Kotaku,[62] Buzzfeed,[63] Jezebel,[64] and more. Twitter users reacted with disgust at the detail. User @TechnicallyRon tweeted about launching his phone "into fucking Pluto" about the news, gaining over 390 retweets and 1,600 likes (shown below, left). Twitter user @max_read joked about how Trump's penis would share Toad's Mario Kart stats, gaining over 70 retweets and 680 likes (shown below, right).


· Technical!yRon @TechnicallyRon Follow *opens twitter* "Donald Trump's penis is shaped like a mushroom from Mario kart" *closes twitter* sets fire to phone* launches phone into f------ pluto* 8:46 AM - 18 Sep 2018 Max Read @max_read Following what i'm gathering is that president trump's d--- has low top speed but makes up for it with fast acceleration and solid handling 9:32 AM - 18 Sep 2018

Political Power: Stormy Daniels

Political Power: Stormy Daniels is a comic book published by TidalWave Productions, written and drawn by Joe Paradise telling the story of Daniels as a feminist icon. The book describes Daniels story as:

Through threats, lawsuits, and politically motivated arrests Clifford has refused to back down in her demand that the president be held responsible for his actions. Witness her journey from scrappy opportunist to unlikely feminist icon in the newest issue of Political Power!

It is the latest in a series of political comics by Joe Paradise, having previously released issues on the 2016 Presidential Election, Bernie Sanders, James Comey, and others. The book has three different covers drawn by artist Joey Mason (shown below).


POLITICAL POWER* TORMY DANIELS し, TITTTh WAVE POLITICAL+POWER TORMY DANIELS orbe TORMY DANIELS

November 9th, 2018 Wall Street Journal Report

On November 9th, 2018, the Wall Street Journal reported with certainty that Donald Trump played a central role in the hush money payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. They came to the conclusion after "interviews with three dozen people who have direct knowledge of the events or who have been briefed on them, as well as court papers, corporate records and other documents."[68] The Wall Street Journal found that Trump was briefed or involved in every step of the process and the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan gathered evidence of Trump's participation. Tapes found in the Michael Cohen raid reveal conversations between Cohen and Trump in which Trump agreed to pay Karen McDougal $150,000 as well as discussions for the Stormy Daniels payment. The Wall Street journal recounts:

“Um, I need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend, David, you know, so that--I’m going to do that right away,” said Mr. Cohen, according to a copy of the audio file.
As Mr. Cohen explained his plans, Mr. Trump spoke over him: “So, what are we gonna pay…One-fifty?” Mr. Trump asked. Mr. Cohen paused and replied, “Yes.”

The report contradict's Trumps repeated denial that he was involved with the payments and raised questions about whether he committed campaign finance law.

Daniels-Avenatti Dispute

On November 28th, 2018, Stormy Daniels told the Daily Beast[69] that her attorney, Michael Avenatti, had filed the defamation suit against Donald Trump without her consent. Additionally, she told the outlet that Avenatti had ignored her requests for information on her two crowd-funding campaigns. She said:

I’m tremendously grateful to [Avenatti] for aggressively representing me in my fight to regain my voice. But in other ways Michael has not treated me with the respect and deference an attorney should show to a client. He has spoken on my behalf without my approval. He filed a defamation case against Donald Trump against my wishes. He repeatedly refused to tell me how my legal defense fund was being spent. Now he has launched a new crowdfunding campaign using my face and name without my permission and attributing words to me that I never wrote or said.

Legal experts have noted that if Avenatti had filed suit without Daniels's knowledge, he could be sued for malpractice.

Avenatti disputed the claims made by Daniels, explaining how the money was being spent. He wrote:

I am and have always been Stormy’s biggest champion. I have personally sacrificed an enormous amount of money, time and energy toward assisting her because I believe in her. I have always been an open book with Stormy as to all aspects of her cases and she knows that. The retention agreement Stormy signed back in February provided that she would pay me $100.00 and that any and all other monies raised via a legal fund would go toward my legal fees and costs. Instead, the vast majority of the money raised has gone toward her security expenses and similar other expenses. The most recent campaign was simply a refresh of the prior campaign, designed to help defray some of Stormy’s expenses.

Stormy Daniels AVN Awards Appearance

On January 26th, 2019, Stormy Daniels attended the Adult Video News (AVN) Awards (shown below).[70] She stated, on the red carpet, that she was surprised Donald Trump wasn't there as he had "f***ed more people than anybody."[71]


Stormy Daniels @StormyDaniels AVN awards red carpet selfie #teamstormy #AVNawards

Search Interest

External References

[1] Wall Street Journal – Trump Lawyer Arranged $130,000 Payment for Adult-Film Star’s Silence

[2] CNN – Fox News shelved story on Trump and porn actress Stormy Daniels before election

[3] The New York Times – Porn Star Was Reportedly Paid to Stay Quiet About Trump

[4] InTouch – 'In Touch' Explosive Interview With Stormy Daniels: Donald Trump Cheated on Melania With Me

[5] Mother Jones – It Looks Like Everyone Knew About Trump and Stormy Daniels

[6] Daily Beast – InTouch to Drop 5,000 Words From Stormy Daniels on Sex With Trump

[7] Twitter Moments – Adult film star Stormy Daniels alleges she slept with Trump, In Touch reports

[8] InTouch – Stormy Daniels' Explosive Full Interview on Donald Trump Affair: "I Can Describe His Junk Perfectly"

[9] Uproxx – Adult Film Star Stormy Daniels Detailed Trump’s Hilarious And Perplexing Obsession With Sharks

[10] Daily Dot – Trump has shown numerous times that he is truly ‘terrified’ of sharks

[11] Mother Jones – Stormy Daniels Once Claimed She Spanked Donald Trump With a Forbes Magazine

[12] Wall Street Journal – Trump Lawyer Used Private Company, Pseudonyms to Pay Porn Star ‘Stormy Daniels’

[13] Common Cause – Contribution Complaint

[14] Politico – Alleged payment to porn star was illegal donation to Trump campaign, watchdog says

[15] Twitter – CREWcrew

[16] Twitter – @TomNamako

[17] Twitter – @a_cormier_

[18] Daily Dot – After lawyer issues denial of affair, Stormy Daniels says not so fast

[19] Uproxx – Stormy Daniels Casts Doubt On Her Trump ‘Denial’ During Her Wild Appearance On ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’

[20] New York Times – Michael D. Cohen, Trump’s Longtime Lawyer, Says He Paid Stormy Daniels Out of His Own Pocket

[21] CNN – Michael Cohen's story on his Stormy Daniels' payout doesn't pass the smell test

[22] Washington Post – Did Trump’s lawyer just implicate Trump in the Stormy Daniels payment?

[23] MSNBC – Daniels Lawsuit

[24] ThinkProgress – Stormy Daniels goes nuclear on Trump, reveals all in new lawsuit

[25] Wall Street Journal – Trump Lawyer’s Payment to Stormy Daniels Was Reported as Suspicious by Bank

[26] Reddit – /r/politics

[27] Reddit – /r/politics 2

[28] Reddit – /r/enoughtrumpspam

[29] Twitter Moments – POTUS had an affair with Stormy Daniels, her lawyer says on TODAY show

[30] CrowdJustice – Clifford (aka Daniels) v. Trump et al.

[31] The Daily Beast – Stormy Daniels Launches Fundraising Site to Fight Trump ‘Hush Agreement’

[32] Uproxx – The Wildest Tweets From The Stormy Daniels ’60 Minutes’ Interview

[33] Twitter – #StormyDanielsDay

[34] Twitter – @j3nnp4c3's Tweet

[35] Twitter – @mjgranger1's Tweet

[36] Twitter – @MarkDice's Tweet

[37] Business Insider – Stormy Daniels’ pupils dilated during her '60 Minutes' interview -- here’s why her irises might have changed shape

[38] The Daily Dot – Stormy Daniels’ pupils spark wild conservative conspiracy theory

[39] The Daily Mail – 'Why are Stormy Daniels' pupils so dilated in that bright room?' Porn star's interview sparks accusation of drug use

[40] New York Times – F.B.I. Raids Office of Trump’s Longtime Lawyer Michael Cohen; Trump Calls It ‘Disgraceful’

[41] Talking Points Memo – Full Transcript of Trump Pool Spray Rant on Cohen FBI Raid

[42] CNN – Trump lashes out as Cohen raid fuses Russia probe and Stormy case

[43] Twitter – @yashar

[44] Twitter – @ShennaFoxMusic's Tweet

[45] Twitter – @realDonaldTrump's Tweet

[46] Twitter – @foxandfriends's Tweet

[47] CNN – Trump's 'Fox & Friends' rant was beyond unhinged

[48] Esquire – The President Is a Few Bulbs Short of a Chandelier

[49] Twitter – @MichaelAvenatti's Tweet

[50] Twitter – @MichaelAvenatti's Tweet

[51] USA Today – Michael Cohen says he will plead the Fifth Amendment in Stormy Daniels case

[52] New York Times – Giuliani Says Trump Repaid Cohen for Stormy Daniels Hush Money

[53] Washington Post – In the midst of propaganda, Sean Hannity finds news

[54] Politico – Trump says he didn't know about $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels

[55] Washington Post – Transcript: Giuliani interview with The Washington Post

[56] Twitter Moments – President Trump says payment to Michael Cohen was not made from campaign money

[57] Vanity Fair – THE TRUE STORY OF THE COMEY LETTER DEBACLE

[58] CNN – Charges against Stormy Daniels are dismissed after Ohio strip club arrest

[59] The Fayette Advocate – WHISTLEBLOWER PROVIDES EMAILS THAT SHOW STORMY DANIELS’ ARREST WAS PRE-PLANNED

[60] Twitter – @MichaelAvenatti's Tweet

[61] The Guardian – Stormy Daniels' tell-all book on Trump salacious detail and claims of cheating

[62] Kotaku – Stormy Daniels Says Donald Trump Has 'A Dick Like The Mushroom Character From Mario Kart'

[63] Buzzfeed – Stormy Daniels Said Trump's Dick Looks Like Toad From Mario Kart And People Gouged Their Eyes Out With Their Own Hands

[64] Jezebel – Report President Has Mushroom Dick

[65] USA Today – Porn actress Stormy Daniels sues President Trump for defamation

[66] USA Today – Federal judge dismisses Stormy Daniels' defamation lawsuit against Donald Trump

[67] Twitter – @MichaelAvenatti

[68] Wall Street Journal – Donald Trump Played Central Role in Hush Payoffs to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal

[69] The Daily Beast – Stormy Daniels: Michael Avenatti Sued Trump For Defamation Against My Wishes

[70] Twitter – StormyDaniels

[71] Inquisitr – Stormy Daniels Trolls Trump

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