Yesterday we posted a WSJ report alleging for a second time that before Trump’s 2016 campaign began, he paid a porn star $130 in hush money to stay quiet about an affair he had with her in 2006.
The New York Times has since written an article alleging that the porn star in question spilled the details of the settlement and the affair to a reporter last year after the Trump team was late with one of her payments:
Jacob Weisberg, editor-in-chief of the Slate Group, said on Friday that in a series of interviews with Ms. Clifford in August and October 2016, she told him she had an affair with Mr. Trump after meeting him at a 2006 celebrity golf tournament. She told him that Michael D. Cohen, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, had agreed during the presidential campaign to pay her the $130,000 if she kept the relationship secret, Mr. Weisberg said, adding that Ms. Clifford had told him she was tempted to go public because the lawyer was late in making the payment and she feared he might back out of their agreement.
In a text message exchange that Mr. Weisberg provided to The Times, he pressed her on details of the agreement.
“Was the Trump lawyer Michael Cohen?” he asked.
“Yep!” responded Ms. Clifford, who goes by the stage name Stormy Daniels.
She forwarded Mr. Weisberg a draft amendment to the original agreement in which the parties were referred to by pseudonyms. Mr. Weisberg shared it with The Times.
According to the draft, Ms. Clifford was referred to as “Peggy Peterson” and was represented by a lawyer named Keith Davidson. On the other end of the negotiations were other parties referred to as “David Dennison” and “David Delucia.” Ms. Clifford promised to send Mr. Weisberg the original paperwork. But shortly after the text message exchange, Ms. Clifford stopped responding. Mr. Weisberg said that his conversations with the actress were on the record but that he was not prepared to write the story without her consent.
ABC had been in talks with Ms. Clifford about an appearance on “Good Morning America,” but they came to an abrupt end, according to a person briefed on the negotiations.
We now have a name of someone going on the record to say Clifford told them about all of this, along with reported text messages and a draft document of a contract. The story is starting to sound more believable than the denials by Cohen. The Times reported on the denials they received, which were basically the same as those received and printed by the WSJ:
In an email sent on Friday to The Times, Mr. Cohen did not address the $130,000 payment, but said, “These rumors have circulated time and again since 2011. President Trump once again vehemently denies any such occurrence as has Ms. Daniels.”
Ms. Clifford could not be reached for comment. But Mr. Cohen released a statement dated Jan. 10 and signed by Ms. Clifford in which she said that her involvement with Mr. Trump was limited to a few public appearances, and that allegations that “I had a sexual and/or romantic affair with Mr. Trump many, many, many years ago” were “completely false.”
“Rumors that I have received hush money from Donald Trump are completely false,” the statement said.
The White House issued a statement, saying, “These are old, recycled reports, which were published and strongly denied prior to the election.”
As some are speculating on Twitter, denial letters like this would seem to be part of the agreement to continue receiving hush money. Or maybe they aren’t, I don’t know. But unless this is an elaborate conspiracy to take down Trump via an affair he lied about, it’s starting to sound like this affair and hush money story may be true. But to be fair, the attack on Roy Moore by Beverly Young Nelson also sounded true as well before we found out that she doctored part of the yearbook entry.