As if we needed another Trump administration scandal to be concerned about as Americans, earlier this year, the story rocketed to the front of the national political conversation that the president’s team had paid an adult film star $130,000 in exchange for her silence about an alleged affair with the man who is now president.
During the course of the fallout over that revelation, the president’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen claimed that the money paid to the adult film star — Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford — came from him and not from Trump.
That claim has been called into serious question, since the idea that Cohen, as Trump’s lawyer, set up the arrangement associated with the cash completely of his own accord and did not inform Trump doesn’t hold water.
Now, Clifford wants to skip over the debate about where the money came from and return it in exchange for freedom to talk about the story.
She signed a non-disclosure agreement in connection to the hush money, but her team has filed a lawsuit claiming that the agreement is invalid because the president never signed it.
Now, NBC is reporting, her team has sent a letter to Michael Cohen, an attorney representing Cohen named Lawrence Rosen, and to EC LLC, the company that the hush money “officially” come from, offering the money back in exchange for freedom to talk.
Speaking to NBC about the offer to the president’s team, Clifford’s lawyer Michael Avenatti commented:
‘This has never been about the money. It has always been about Ms. Clifford being allowed to tell the truth. The American people should be permitted to judge for themselves who is shooting straight with them and who is misleading them. Our offer seeks to allow this to happen.’
There’s one hitch to Clifford’s team’s plan that the president’s team could seize on to turn down their offer. The letter sent to Cohen and others states that the money would be returned via being wired to an account designated by the president by Friday.
The Trump team has never formally acknowledged that the president had anything to do with the money being dished out in the first place, so them accepting Daniel’s offer would likely constitute an admittance to that effect and that’s something the Trump team has shown little interest in allowing for.
Avenatti commented to NBC that his client was offering to pay the president directly “because we do not believe there is any doubt as to where the money came from originally, in reality.” The offer will remain open until noon Tuesday.
Rather than seeming open to negotiations, the president’s team has reacted against Daniels to the point of being reported to be seeking to use legal action to keep an interview she taped with 60 Minutes from airing.
At a recent White House press conference, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders irked the president when she effectively admitted the president’s involvement in the issue. As CNN put it, she offered comments to reporters that constituted “an admission that the nondisclosure agreement exists, and that it directly involves the President.”
All of these issues remain relevant, not just because of the salacious aspect to the ordeal, but rather, the scandal is relevant because of questions about whether the president’s team broke the law.
For instance, if the money did come from the Trump Organization, the size of the sum coupled with the fact that it was meant to keep Clifford quiet to help Trump’s campaign could make it an illegal campaign contribution.
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