A new report claims that despite his denials, President Donald Trump was closely involved in payments to two women that were designed to ensure their claims of affairs with the then-candidate would never see the light of day.
The report in Friday’s Wall Street Journal claims that Trump worked with media executive David Pecker and attorney Michael Cohen to address claims by adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, both of whom said they had affairs with Trump.
Trump has denied having affairs with the women.
The report indicates that Trump and Pecker began working together in the summer of 2015, as Trump was beginning to take control of the Republican presidential process.
At the time, the report said, Trump was concerned about a recurrence of tabloid stories that had dogged him in the past concerning affairs with models and celebrities.
The report said Pecker paid McDougal $150,000 for the rights to her story, but never published it. However, the agreement she signed denied her the ability to speak publicly on the subject, the report said. Daniels received $130,000 from Cohen, with a similar restriction against speaking publicly about the issue.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office has been given information on Trump’s role, The Journal report claimed. The report did not name the sources of its information.
In August, Cohen pleaded guilty to a number of charges against him including campaign violations. The Journal report said that before the plea, he was shown an 80-page draft indictment against him for his role in the payments women claiming they had affairs with Trump.
Lanny Davis, who is Cohen’s attorney, had no comment on The Journal report.
Most of The Journal article outlines, without attribution, the mechanics of how Cohen or Pecker’s media firm dealt with McDougal and Daniels.
When The Journal asked the White House for comment, the newspaper said it was referred to Trump’s outside counsel Jay Sekulow, who refused to comment.
“Mr. Trump’s involvement in the payments, by itself, wouldn’t mean he is guilty of federal crimes” according to one specialist the WSJ spoke to. “A criminal conviction would require proof Mr. Trump willfully skirted legal prohibitions on contributions…” https://t.co/U6awGRz7Q2
— Steve Kopack (@SteveKopack) November 9, 2018
Michael Avenatti, the attorney representing Daniels in a suit against Trump, said the Journal report proves his client has told the truth, CNN reported.
In light of the sworn testimony and evidence relating to the payment to my client and Trump’s involvement (confirming our allegations), we are calling for the immediate indictment of the president. No one is above the law in the United States. https://t.co/sqmdfly6x4
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) November 9, 2018
“For over eight months we have been battling Donald Trump and the lies he has told about his payment to my client. This is further vindication that we were right,” Avenatti said.
“I think the President should be indicted,” Avenatti said.
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