Everything wrong with Trump’s new tweets on Stormy Daniels – ThinkProgress - Only Hit Lyrics

Everything wrong with Trump’s new tweets on Stormy Daniels – ThinkProgress


After months of relative silence, Donald Trump has taken to using Twitter to address the allegations of Stormy Daniels, the adult film actress who said she had a sexual relationship with Trump in 2006. The first occasion, an April 18th tweet in which Trump did not mention Daniels by name but nevertheless complained about “A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools,” earned the president a defamation lawsuit.

But this morning, in a series of three tweets, he has made things much worse.

Trump starts this tweet by admitting that he was fully aware of the $130,000 payment made to Daniels. He had to be aware because he “reimbursed” Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal attorney and self-styled “fixer,” who arranged the payment to Daniels. Just a month ago, Trump told reporters on Air Force One that he did not know about this payment.

During a March 7th press briefing, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that she had spoken personally with Trump and that he had denied any knowledge of the payments.

Q    Sure.  Sure.  To both Jeff, as well as, Monday, to the Wall Street Journal reporter, you were asked about whether the President knew about this payment his longtime lawyer made to — facilitated, rather — to Stormy Daniels.  You said then, and again today, not that you’re aware of.  Have you asked the President this question?

MS. SANDERS:  Yeah, I’ve had conversations with the President about this.  And, as I outlined earlier, that this case has already been won in arbitration and that there was no knowledge of any payments from the President, and he’s denied all of these allegations.

Cohen, for his part, has twice denied — on the record — that he was ever reimbursed for his $130,000 payment to Daniels, even though Trump is now saying he reimbursed Daniels.

Trump’s tweet also contradicts what former New York City mayor and current member of Trump’s legal team Rudy Giuliani and Cohen have said about the nature of the payment. Here, Trump says the $130,000 was paid “from” a retainer he paid to Cohen. But Cohen said he made the payment by taking out a home equity loan. Giuliani told BuzzFeed that Trump’s retainer to Cohen only started in 2017, months after the payments.

Giuliani said that Trump told Cohen, “We’ll cover your expenses,” and agreed to pay him $35,000 a month “out of his personal funds” over the course of a year-long period that began in the first few months of 2017 and has since ended.

Moreover, this is not a legitimate purpose for a legal retainer. A legal retainer is supposed to pay for legal services, not to reimburse your attorney for making payments with his personal funds. Giuliani described the reimbursement system on Hannity as Trump paying Cohen even though he was “doing no work for the president.”

Things go from bad to worse in the second tweet.

Trump has already been sued by Daniels for defamation in federal court. Up until now, Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, has had to rely on the aforementioned April 18th tweet to support the defamation claim.

This is something less than a clear denial of the affair. It specifically relates to the sketch that an artist drew of a man Daniels says threatened her in 2011 in a Las Vegas parking lot, warning her not to speak about her affair with Trump. Many legal experts believed the defamation claim, based on this tweet alone, was relatively thin, lacking a clear attack on Daniels.

But now, Trump has solved Avenatti’s problems by mentioning Daniels by name and referring to her claims as “false and extortionist.” If the affair did occur, this tweet provides a much stronger argument that Trump has defamed Daniels.

By the third tweet, Trump was on a roll.

Trump is claiming that Daniels signed a letter denying the affair before a payment was made to her. This is not true. Cohen first issued a short letter from Daniels denying the affair in January 2018.

Even more significantly, Trump appears to have a misunderstanding of campaign law. If the purpose of the agreement was to benefit his campaign, as the timing suggests, it would need to be reported to the FEC. If the money had come from Cohen, it would exceed the legal limits for campaign donations. But even if the money came from Trump, it would need to be reported as a contribution to the campaign, which it was not.

Even if you accept Trump’s argument that a $130,000 payment made days before the campaign had nothing to do with improving his electoral chances, Trump still may have legal liability. The payment now appears to be a loan from Cohen to Trump. This would have been required to be reported by Trump on his presidential financial disclosure. And it was not.


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