Porn star Stephanie Clifford, better known by her professional name Stormy Daniels, says she had sex just once with Donald Trump, in his hotel suite, the first time they met at a celebrity golf tourney in Lake Tahoe in July of 2006.
In 2011, not long after telling her story about her relationship with Trump to a sister publication of In Touch magazine, a man approached her in a Las Vegas parking lot, as she was getting out of her car with her infant daughter, and told her to “leave Trump alone” and “forget the story” because “it would be a shame if something happened” to the mother of such a “beautiful little girl.”
Daniels declined to answer when Anderson Cooper asked if she had, as part of the NDA she signed with Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, turned over all videos, photos, emails, texts, etc related to Trump, saying her attorney has advised her not to discuss.
In the highly hyped 60 Minutes interview, Daniels told newsmag contributor Cooper she did not want to have sex with Trump, then host of NBC’s Apprentice reality TV franchise, when they met and was not physically attracted to him. But she had dinner with him in his suite, got up to use the bathroom and when she walked out, he was sitting on the bed.
“I realized exactly what I’d gotten myself into and I was like, ‘Ugh, here we go’.”
Nonetheless, she describes the encounter as consensual, insisting she’s not a #MeToo victim. At that encounter, he began dangling the idea of her being a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice.
“He goes, ‘Got an idea, honeybunch. Would you ever consider going on and — and being a contestant?’ And I laughed and said, ‘NBC’s never gonna let, you know, an adult film star be on.’ He goes, ‘That’s why I want you. You’re gonna shock a lotta people, you’re smart and they won’t know what to expect.”
He continued to dangle the idea of her competing on the show, she claimed. At one point she says he told her he had a meeting with the network about it, saying, “It’s gonna be spectacular, they’re totally into the idea.”
One year after they met, he asked her to meet at his bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel to discuss a development about that. After making her sit through a documentary on shark attacks airing on Discovery’s Shark Week, she claimed he tried to initiate sex, but she brushed him off and he said he would have an answer for her next week. She said she got up and left.
Next month he called to say he had not been able to get her a spot on Celebrity Apprentice and, Daniels said, they never met again.
As mentioned, on May 2011, she told her story to a sister publication of In Touch for $15K. Cooper reported the story never ran because, according to two employees, when they called Trump for comment, his attorney Michael Cohen called, threatening to sue.
Daniels said she was not paid for the interview. It was a few weeks later when she received the aforementioned threats from a man in a Las Vegas parking lot. She said he never saw him again and did not go to the police because she was frightened.
Five years later, when Trump won the Republican nomination for president, people began offering her money for her story. “Large amounts of money. Was I tempted? Yes — I struggle with it,” she acknowledged.
Her lawyer said the best deal was an offer not to tell her story, from Cohen, for $130K. She signed it 11 days before the election, telling Cooper she picked that offer because she was “concerned for my family and their safety.”
“I turned down a large payday multiple times because I didn’t want to kiss and tell and be labeled all the things I’m being labeled now,” Daniels said. “I did not want my family and my child exposed to all the things she’s being exposed to now.”
(Daniels sued on March 6 to be released from the NDA she’d signed with Cohen in October 2016, claiming the doc is invalid because Trump did not sign it.)
Fifteen months later, when the Wall Street Journal published a report that Cohen had paid her for her silence, she said she signed those statements denying she had an affair with Trump under pressure from her former attorney and business manager, who cautioned, “They can make your life hell in many different ways.”
The Stormy Daniels report is more than just another tabloid story because the payment may have run afoul of campaign finance laws, Cooper explained to viewers. Cohen insists he used $130K of his own money to pay her and that it was not a campaign contribution.
But Trevor Potter, former chairman of the Federal Election Commission, and a President George H.W. Bush appointee called that payment “an enormous legal mess” for Trump and Cohen. As Cohen has explained, it would be an “in-kind contribution by Cohen to the Trump campaign, which is about $126,500 above what he’s allowed to give,” Potter said on 60 Minutes.
“And if he does this on behalf of his client, the candidate, that is a coordinated, illegal, in-kind contribution by Cohen for the purpose of influencing the election, of benefiting the candidate by keeping this secret,” Potter detailed.
Cooper reminded Daniels that Trump watches 60 Minutes and asked what she would like to say to him.
“He knows I’m telling the truth,” she replied.
Clifford could face about $20M in damages for violating that NDA. Little more than a week before the 60 Minutes broadcast of her taped interview with Cooper, the potential damages against Clifford were made public in a filing in federal court in Los Angeles by Essential Consultants LLC – which Cohen set up in 2016 to make her NDA payment.
Daniels lawyer, Michael Avenatti blasted out a statement responding, “The fact that a sitting president is pursuing over $20 million in bogus ‘damages’ against a private citizen, who is only trying to tell the public what really happened, is truly remarkable. He added, “We are not going away and we will not be intimidated by these threats.”
Walking up to the broadcast on Sunday, Stormy’s lawyer, Michael Avenatti tweeted:
On Friday, he had tweeted photo of a disc and the sentence, “If ‘a picture is worth a thousand words,’ how many words is this worth?????”:
On CNN that night, Avenatti told Wolf Blitzer “That DVD contains evidence substantiating the relationship…And the tweet is a warning shot. I want to be really clear about this. It is a warning shot to Michael Cohen and anyone else associated with President Trump that they better be very very careful after Sunday night, relating to what they say about my client and what spin or lies they attempt to tell the American people.”