Home » Headline News » WSJ: Trump lawyer arranged $130K in hush money for porn star before the election to stop her from discussing Trump affair

WSJ: Trump lawyer arranged $130K in hush money for porn star before the election to stop her from discussing Trump affair

But … why? There’s no more slavishly pro-Trump faction in America than evangelicals. If news had broken before Election Day that Trump had cheated on his then-pregnant wife 10 years ago with a porn star, Jerry Falwell Jr and Franklin Graham would have issued statements congratulating him for scoring some “Grade A tail.” Trump would have put out a perfunctory statement about how he’d since found Jesus by reading “Two Corinthians” and that would have been that.

Plus, election coverage was convulsed at the time with allegations of Trump harassing or assaulting women sexually in the past. An affair would have seemed quaint by comparison.

It would have mildly complicated Team Trump’s “Bill’s a lecherous scumbag” attack line against Hillary, though. Reason enough to pay up?

Michael Cohen, who spent nearly a decade as a top attorney at the Trump Organization, arranged payment to the woman, Stephanie Clifford, in October 2016 after her lawyer negotiated the nondisclosure agreement with Mr. Cohen, these people said…

The Journal previously reported that Ms. Clifford, 38 years old, had been in talks with ABC’s “Good Morning America” in the fall of 2016 about an appearance to discuss Mr. Trump, according to people familiar with the matter…

After the agreement, Ms. Clifford’s camp complained the payment wasn’t being made quickly enough and threatened to cancel the deal, some of the people familiar with the matter said.

The payment was made to Ms. Clifford through her lawyer in the matter, Keith Davidson, with funds sent to Mr. Davidson’s client-trust account at City National Bank in Los Angeles, according to the people.

Reached for comment, the White House and Cohen each pointed to Trump’s past denial of any affair with Clifford, a.k.a. Stormy Daniels — although, interestingly, neither specifically denied that hush money had been paid. It was The Smoking Gun that first went public with accusations of an affair between Trump and Clifford in a story published October 18, 2016, just 10 days after the “Access Hollywood” tape emerged. Supposedly they had met at a celebrity golf tournament in 2006 and things proceeded from there. “Clifford confided to friends that she engaged in a sexual affair with Trump, whom she claimed had promised to help her get cast on ‘The Apprentice’ or another TV show,” claimed TSG. A gossip site picked up the rumors of a tryst in late 2011, long before Trump launched his candidacy for president. Years later, with Trump suddenly a political superstar, Clifford reportedly went shopping her story of the affair to the tabloids. If you believe the Journal, that’s when Cohen swooped in with a check to make it worth her while to stop shopping.

This isn’t the first time Trump or his cronies have been accused of buying a mistress’s silence. Four days before the 2016 election, the Journal reported on another alleged payout. People magazine picked up the story at the time:

A new report claims that owners of the tabloid newspaper National Enquirer paid a former Playboy model $150,000 in order to kill her story about an affair she had with Donald Trump.

Karen McDougal, the magazine’s Playmate of the Year for 1998, claimed to friends that she had a consensual romantic relationship with the 70-year-old businessman in 2006 — while he was married to his current wife Melania, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The affair lasted between 10 months to a year — and included a trip to the 2006 Miss Universe pageant where she was seated in the front row, her friend told the Journal.

McDougal allegedly thought she was being paid for an expose about her affair with Trump, evidently not realizing that he and the Enquirer’s publisher are longtime buddies and that the paper allegedly does various favors for him with its coverage. They bought her story not because they wanted to run it but because they wanted to make sure no one else did, fearing that it might have damaged Trump’s presidential chances. It was “catch and kill.” A fun fact from the Journal’s expose on McDougal and the Enquirer: Her lawyer on the deal was apparently … Keith Davidson, the same lawyer who reportedly orchestrated Cohen’s payment to Clifford. Having brokered one deal with TrumpWorld to buy the silence of an alleged mistress, he went back to the well and apparently secured another for a second client.

I’ve posted this before but it’s worth re-upping in light of the theory that details of the affair would have hurt Trump with his base in 2016. It’s true that evidence that he’d cheated on Melania *while she was pregnant with Barron* would have produced a momentary “ick” response in everyone, but it’s also undeniably true that evangelicals have adjusted their moral expectations for presidents to suit Trump’s character. This poll was published one day after the Smoking Gun’s Trump/Clifford story appeared in 2016:

In the span of five years, white evangelicals went from being the group with the most exacting moral standards for political candidates to the group with the least exacting standards. If the Trump/Clifford story had come out, they probably would have taken another step and decided collectively that pornography is okay after all. In light of that, your exit question: Why was Cohen allegedly so nervous about this being revealed? It would have put Trump and Melania in an awkward spot briefly, but she could have said, “I found out about this years ago and forgave him” and that would have been the end of it. Is there any Trump fan who *doesn’t* think Mr. Grab ‘Em By The Pussy has strayed a time or two in the 10+ years they’ve been married? All I can figure is that Cohen and Trump reasoned that admission of an affair might somehow make the allegations about harassment and assault more credible in some people’s minds, which might have done him some real damage. It wasn’t the affair per se that made them nervous, it was the risk that the affair would confirm suspicions of much worse behavior.

Update: By the way, there are photos of Trump with both Clifford and McDougal. That doesn’t prove anything, of course, but the White House might want to make sure he doesn’t deny ever having met them in his zeal to deny the affairs.

Update: Cohen and Clifford knew today’s Journal story was coming.

The post WSJ: Trump lawyer arranged $130K in hush money for porn star before the election to stop her from discussing Trump affair appeared first on Hot Air.

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