Kicking off the second year of the Trump administration being in power was the revelation that the president’s team had sent $130,000 in hush money to an adult film star in an effort to keep her quiet about an alleged affair between her and the president. That scandal has blown up into questions about just where the money came from and whether or not the president knew about it.
As the scandal has raged on, the adult film star — Stephanie Clifford, otherwise known as Stormy Daniels — has chosen to file suit against the president over the non-disclosure agreement associated with the hush money. She claims both that the agreement is effectively voided because the president never actually signed it and that the president’s lawyer Michael Cohen has used force and intimidation in an effort to get her to hold up the agreement.
In the face of this lawsuit, Michael Avenatti, who is serving as a lawyer for Daniels, went on CNN this Friday night to speak with Anderson Cooper. He revealed documents — including at least one new one — that give credence to the idea that, contrary to Cohen’s assertions, he didn’t send the cash to Daniels completely of his own accord.
One of the pieces of evidence for this claim that Avenatti presented to Cooper is the fact that in an email, Cohen pointed to his office being closed for the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur as a seeming reason for why the money hadn’t been sent yet. As Avenatti cast the issue, it’s an open question why whether or not his office would be open was relevant to the timing of the money transfer. The possibility, of course, is that this is a confirmation that the money transfer did come from an account associated with Trump in some capacity and not one just associated with Cohen.
Avenatti also pointed out to Cooper, as had already explained elsewhere, that Cohen used a work email account for communicating with his own bank about the transfer. When he was notified by his bank that the money was seemingly ready to be wired to Daniels, he forwarded the email to his personal email account before sending it to the man working at the time as Daniels’ lawyer.
Speaking to why this might be the case, Avenatti said to Cooper:
‘I don’t have an explanation for it, quite honestly, because if there was nothing to hide in connection with this email string, then Mr. Cohen could have forwarded this email directly to [Daniels’ then-lawyer] and would not have had to take the interim step of going to his personal email account. What we believe happened — and this is speculation… is that… he was then going to send it from his personal email address to [Daniels’ then-lawyer] but he forgot to delete the middle portion of the email that showed that the communication had taken place with his email at the Trump organization.’
Avenatti went on to insist that it’s “impossible” that Cohen actually carried on with the hush money and the associated non-disclosure agreement completely of his own accord. This claim being true could mean, besides that Daniels’ contention that Trump was supposed to sign the NDA is legitimate, that the payment constituted an illegal campaign contribution. If the money came from the Trump organization and was supposed to keep Daniels quiet in an effort to boost Trump’s electoral chances, that’s illegal.
Check out video of Avenatti’s appearance on CNN below.
A second part of his appearance, in which he explained some of the red flags raised by the transfer itself, is below.
Featured Image via Screenshot from the Video