For several weeks, details of the president’s affair with a porn star with the stage name Stormy Daniels, while his wife recovered from the birth of their son have slowly come to light. That story isn’t the top breaking news every day, and if there was ever proof of the chaos in the upside-down world of Donald Trump as president, this is it.
One of the more concerning details of the story is the “hush money” Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels, was paid to keep the affair quiet. Prior to signing an agreement just days before the election, Clifford had been prepared to talk to the press about the affair, even texting a copy of the document she was to sign to a reporter. After friends report that she signed the papers and received $130,000 in exchange for her silence, Clifford stopped talking.
.@realDonaldTrump lawyer Cohen paid $130k to silence Stormy Daniels. National Enquirer paid $150k to silence Karen McDougal. @RepKathleenRice & I are asking @FBI to investigate. As former prosecutors, we believe those payments may constitute felonies. https://t.co/hpkXc7bmky
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) March 2, 2018
According to The Wall Street Journal:
‘The lawyer, Michael Cohen, wired the money to a lawyer for former actress Stephanie Clifford, known professionally as Stormy Daniels, from an account at First Republic Bank .The money was received on Oct. 27, 2016, 12 days before the presidential election, another person familiar with the matter said. It isn’t clear when First Republic reported it to the government as suspicious.
‘Mr. Cohen said he missed two deadlines earlier that month to make the $130,000 payment to Ms. Clifford because he couldn’t reach Mr. Trump in the hectic final days of the presidential campaign, the person said…
‘After Mr. Trump’s victory, Mr. Cohen complained to friends that he had yet to be reimbursed for the payment to Ms. Clifford, the people said.’
Asked for a statement on the reports of his complaint, Cohen responded by insisting it was “fake news” and made no further comment. It was Cohen, however, who told the press that he had made the payment himself.
Michael Cohen said he missed two deadlines to pay Stormy Daniels bc he couldn’t reach Trump in the hectic final days of the presidential campaign.
After Trump’s victory, Cohen complained to friends that he had yet to be reimbursed for the payment.https://t.co/KRrgT6kc58
— erica orden (@eorden) March 5, 2018
A payment made to a limited liability corporation set up by Cohen was not funded in time to make the payments, according to reports, and Cohen was forced to pay the money on his own. A payment of this kind, because of its obvious benefit to the Trump campaign, may violate campaign finance laws.
Stormy Daniels had called off the $130,000 deal with Michael Cohen at one point to keep her alleged affair with Trump secret because Cohen had missed the payment deadline, WaPo reports. Cohen eventually sent the payment 13 days after the original deadline.https://t.co/WWagXxl16H
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 3, 2018
A statement by Democratic Representative Ted Lieu reads:
‘Payments to silence individuals with negative information about then-candidate Trump may violate federal election laws. The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) prevents companies, other than through a political action committee, from contributing to a federal campaign and puts a strict $5,400 limit for individual contributions. A contribution is defined as “anything of value given, loaned or advanced to influence a federal election.” Such contributions also include in-kind contributions. As the FEC states, “An expenditure made by any person or entity in cooperation, consultation or concert with, or at the request or suggestion of, a candidate’s campaign is also considered an in-kind contribution to the candidate.”’
The bank that flagged the payment as suspicious declined to comment on the report.
The Finale to the Stormy Daniels affair..
First Republic Bank flagged and reported the transaction
Michael Cohen missed the deadline twice because he had difficulty getting in touch w @realDonaldTrump
Weeks later Cohen complained that Trump hadn’t reimbursed him yet pic.twitter.com/Lu0cMSESLQ
— Olga Lautman (@olgaNYC1211) March 5, 2018
Featured image via Getty/Gabe Ginsberg