Trump lawyer brokered $130K payment to porn star

Joann Johnston
January 13, 2018

President Donald Trump's longtime attorney denied that Trump had a sexual encounter with a porn star after a report by The Wall Street Journal on Friday alleged the lawyer helped facilitate a six-figure payment to the actress in October 2016 in exchange for her silence.

While the question of whether or not Trump had a consensual affair with an adult film actress may be juicy gossip, it isn't almost as pressing as whether Clifford was paid by top Trump lawyers to keep quiet (Clifford had reportedly previously discussed revealing her relationship on ABC's Good Morning America.) What's more, the reports fit into a larger patter of the president denying alleged encounters - both consensual and non-consensual - and going as far as to smear those women and call them liars.

Clifford alleged that she had an encounter with Trump after they met at a July 2006 celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe. Donald and Melania Trump were married in 2005. Both the White House and Cohen strongly denied that the alleged affair had ever taken place, with Cohen calling the claims "outlandish allegations".

Trump's surrogates have also adopted a "deny everything" approach when it comes to sexual misconduct allegations. "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". In response to the Journal, Cohen isn't denying the payments, but he said it's not tied to an affair. "Rumors that I have received hush money from Donald Trump are completely false", the statement read.

After reports that the president used offensive language during the White House meeting, the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus and the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee said they plan to introduce a censure resolution against Trump over his "bigoted fear mongering" about Haiti and Africa. In its reporting, the Smoking Gun found that Clifford herself tried to shop stories to publications about her relationship with Trump. Davidson declined to comment on the story, citing "attorney-client privilege".

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Two sources at ABC News told CNN that Daniels was in touch with producers at ABC's "Good Morning America" in the fall of 2016 about a potential interview and was prepared to discuss Trump.

This week, Cohen filed a "defamation action" against BuzzFeed News and its editor-in-chief over allegations about him that were published in the anti-Trump dossier compiled by a former British spy. The paper said it is not known whether Trump was aware of any agreement or payment.

In October 2016, The Smoking Gun reported on Trump's alleged relationship with Clifford, including a photo of the two together posted on Clifford's MySpace page.

"I did not sign [a nondisclosure agreement], nor have I received any money for coming forward", Drake said this week in an emailed statement.

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