This is cute and clever. Stormy Daniels, the porn star who says she had an affair with President Trump, offered to return $130,000 she received from Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer in 2016 for agreeing not to discuss the alleged relationship.
In exchange, the actress (aka Stephanie Clifford) seeks an end to her deal to keep quiet about what she says was an affair with Mr. Trump that started in 2006 and lasted for several months.
Under the terms of the deal detailed in the letter, the (alleged) contract ensuring Ms. Clifford’s silence would be “deemed null and void’’ once she returned the sum called for in her original contract.
Under the offer, Ms. Clifford would then be allowed to “(a) speak openly and freely about her prior relationship with the President and the attempts to silence her and (b) use and publish any text messages, photos and/or videos relating to the President that she may have in her possession, all without fear of retribution and/or legal liability for damages.”
Which is convenient because she just gave an interview to Anderson Cooper of 60 Minutes which is to be aired sometime in the near future.
The offer puts the president and Mr. Cohen — who deny that Mr. Trump had an affair with Ms. Clifford — in a challenging position.
If they agree to Mr. Avenatti’s terms, Ms. Clifford can speak openly about not only the sexual relationship she claims to have had with Mr. Trump shortly after his wife, Melania, gave birth to the couple’s son, Barron, but also about what she describes as an effort to silence her “hush money.’’
The money, which Mr. Cohen has said came from his own personal funds, is the subject of complaints lodged by the group Common Cause with the Federal Election Commission and Justice Department. Common Cause argues that the payment violated campaign finance laws.
If they reject the offer, they could be seen as effectively acknowledging the existence of a continuing effort to keep Ms. Clifford silent about an affair that Mr. Cohen and the president say did not happen.
All this is part of an aggressive media effort by Michael Avenatti, Daniels’ attorney, to Trump to let her speak. Here was a tweet from Avenatti over the weekend:
“I believe Mr. Avenatti’s actions and behavior has been … imprudent as it opens Ms. Clifford to substantial monetary liability, which I intend to pursue, Cohen said.” @washingtonpost. Really? For which client, BC @michaelcohen212 is NOT a client with standing. For DJT? #please
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) March 11, 2018