Image via Getty.
Image via Getty.

Longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen, best known for classic lines like “you cannot rape your spouse” and “tread very fucking lightly, because what I’m going to do to you is going to be fucking disgusting,” has confirmed with the New York Times that he paid $130,000 to former pornographic actress Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels. Cohen referred to this payment as a “private transaction.”

Cohen did not confirm with the Times why the payment was made (reportedly, it was made to ensure Clifford’s silence following an alleged affair with the president, which the White House has denied—and which, in an abrupt turnaround, a statement containing Clifford’s signature echoed). He also did not explain why on earth he would have coughed up $130,000 without reimbursement.

Cohen told the Times that he was responding to an FEC complaint filed by watchdog group Common Cause, which argued that the payment constituted an in-kind donation to the Trump campaign.

“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,” Mr. Cohen said in a statement to The New York Times. “The payment to Ms. Clifford was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone.”

He declined to answer several follow-up questions, including whether Mr. Trump had been aware that Mr. Cohen made the payment, why he made the payment or whether he had made similar payments to other people over the years.


Excellent, glad that’s been cleared up—I am now able to conclude, with relief, that this appears to be a completely normal and appropriate situation with no bearing on the president whatsoever.

Ellie is a freelance writer and former senior writer at Jezebel. She is pursuing a master's degree in science journalism at Columbia University in the fall.

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