Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

New Report on Hush Payments Could Be Bad News for Trump

A pro-abortion-rights supporter holds up a sign during a rally outside the Supreme Court in March A pro-abortion-rights supporter holds up a sign during a rally outside the Supreme Court in March. Andrew Harnik AP
Jeannette Daniel | 10 November, 2018, 12:27

The WSJ reported that President Donald Trump is directly implicated in the payoffs of alleged mistresses Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal during the 2016 election and was "involved in or briefed on almost every step of the agreements". In August, the president's former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to federal crimes for orchestrating the payments, which he said he did at Trump's direction. And according to the Wall Street Journal, federal prosecutors have extensive evidence that Trump was indeed a central figure in coordinating the hush money schemes, despite his previous denials. They also raise the possibility that the president of the United States violated federal campaign-finance laws.

As a presidential candidate in August 2015, Donald Trump huddled with a longtime friend, media executive David Pecker, in his cluttered 26th floor Trump Tower office and made a request.

Pecker responded by offering to use his tabloid to buy off women who might attempt to go public with their past sexual experiences with Trump by acquiring the exclusive rights to the stories but never publishing them, a practice known as "catch and kill".

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Playboy model Karen McDougal and adult film actor and director Stormy Daniels received payments to stay silent about the alleged encounters. It alleges that he "directed deals in phone calls and meetings with his self-described fixer, Michael Cohen", and that the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan is gathering evidence about his role.

That same year, Pecker allegedly refused to make a second payment, this time to Daniels/Clifford with whom Trump is said to have had affair in 2006, "on the grounds that he didn't want his company to pay a porn star", the WSJ reported. In concealing these payments, prosecutors charged, Cohen violated these laws. Cohen's lawyer said on MSNBC that his client is willing to share information about Trump with special counsel Robert Mueller.

Both McDougal and Daniels/Clifford have filed lawsuits to break their non-disclosure agreements and speak about the affairs.

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