Friday afternoon, the Wall Street Journal quietly released a bombshell story, claiming that, just one month prior to the 2016 presidential election, Michael Cohen, President Trump’s longtime lawyer, arranged for a $130,000 payment to be made to a former porn star.
The WSJ claimed the payment was arranged in October 2016, in order to keep the woman, identified as Stephanie Clifford, from publicly speaking about an “alleged sexual encounter with Mr. Trump.”
Clifford, 38, whose stage name is Stormy Daniels, is reportedly not making any allegations of nonconsensual interaction, but claims that she had an “encounter” with Trump in July 2006, after they met at a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe – about a year after his marriage to Melania Trump.
WSJ claimed that Clifford had entered into talks with ABC’s “Good Morning America” in the fall of 2016, but then the “hush money” was allegedly paid.
When questioned about the story, an official at the White House denounced it, as did Mr. Cohen.
“These are old, recycled reports, which were published and strongly denied prior to the election,” a White House official said, responding to the allegation of a sexual encounter involving Mr. Trump and Ms. Clifford. The official declined to respond to questions about an agreement with Ms. Clifford. It isn’t known whether Mr. Trump was aware of any agreement or payment involving her.
In a statement, Mr. Cohen didn’t address the $130,000 payment but said of the alleged sexual encounter that “President Trump once again vehemently denies any such occurrence as has Ms. Daniels.”
Mr. Cohen added in the statement, addressed to The Wall Street Journal: “This is now the second time that you are raising outlandish allegations against my client. You have attempted to perpetuate this false narrative for over a year; a narrative that has been consistently denied by all parties since at least 2011.”
Mr. Cohen also sent a two-paragraph statement by email addressed “TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN” and signed by “Stormy Daniels” denying that she had a “sexual and/or romantic affair” with Mr. Trump.
“Rumors that I have received hush money from Donald Trump are completely false,” the statement said.
Ms. Clifford didn’t respond to multiple emails seeking comment.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Clifford was once considered among the adult film industry’s biggest stars, and has appeared in about 150 adult films. Allegedly, she was 27 years old when she met Mr. Trump at the American Century Championship in July 2006, at the Edgewood Tahoe golf course in Nevada.
The story was released just one day after Trump’s remarks about immigrants during a meeting on immigration reform causing an eruption of outrage and claims of racism from Democrats.
A former porn star reached a $130,000 deal just before the 2016 election to stay silent about an alleged sexual encounter with Donald Trumphttps://t.co/uztUVwrPAm
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) January 12, 2018