Money may not buy happiness, but it certainly can buy loyalty and silence. It can also buy lawyers, and no one can deny that Donald Trump has some of the most loyal and dedicated lawyers in the business.
Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, told The New York Times that the infamous $130,000 payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels (Stephanie Clifford) was paid by Cohen out of his own money. In a statement, Cohen said:
‘Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly.’
Two questions Cohen would not answer: why the payment was made and whether the president knew anything about the payment at all.
The statement comes following formal complaints filed against Trump, which stated that the payments may have been a violation of campaign finance laws. According to CNN:
‘In January, the organization Common Cause filed complaints with the Federal Election Commission and the Justice Department, alleging that the reported payment to Clifford constituted a campaign finance violation. But on Tuesday, Cohen’s statement denied that accusation and said the monetary exchange was “lawful” and “not a campaign contribution.”‘
Before the payment was made, Daniels spoke extensively with Slate’s Jacob Weisberg about the brief affair, which reportedly occurred while Melania, Trump’s third wife, was recovering from the birth of the Trumps’ youngest son, Barron. Daniels even texted Weisberg photos of the unsigned financial agreement requiring her silence about the affair in exchange for $130,000.
During the interviews with Slate’s reporter, Daniels openly admitted to details of the affair. The conversations came to an abrupt halt just before the November 2016 presidential election.
‘About a week before the election, Daniels stopped responding to calls and text messages. A friend of hers told me Daniels had said she’d taken the money from Trump after all. I considered publishing the story without her cooperation. After all, she had never said anything was off the record. But if I did so, she would presumably disavow what she had told me, and the only people I had corroborating her story were sources Daniels herself had pointed me to. For the most important aspect of the story—the contract for her silence—I also lacked independent corroboration.’
Daniels has since denied the affair, but Trump’s attorney does acknowledge that the payment was made. Unfortunately for Trump, too many of the details had been leaked and confirmed to continue denying the payment, although Trump and his team have insisted that news of the affair are lies.
It isn’t the first time Trump’s lawyers have taken responsibility for actions that could have, and may still, landed the president in serious trouble. After Trump tweeted a self-incriminating statement about his reasons for firing former national security advisor Michael Flynn, in which he appeared to admit to obstruction of justice by saying he knew Flynn had committed a crime in lying to the FBI before asking former FBI Director James Comey to drop the investigation into Flynn, another of Trump’s lawyer’s, James Dowd, insisted he wrote the tweet himself.
Paying off porn stars and posting admissions to a crime on the president’s personal Twitter account: just another day in the life of Donald Trump’s attorneys.
Featured image via Getty/Mandel Ngan