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Michael Cohen’s Stormy Daniels Story Doesn’t Add Up

To Donald Trump, the most important trait in any of his associates is loyalty—he is, in his own words, “like, this great loyalty freak.” And though the obsession has tripped him up in the White House more than once, Trump’s outside allies still seem intent on proving themselves. Exhibit A: on Tuesday, Trump’s longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen told The New York Times that he paid porn star Stormy Daniels—whose real name is Stephanie Clifford—$130,000 “out of his own pocket” weeks before the presidential election. “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,” Cohen said in what appeared to be an attempt to clear the president’s good name. “The payment to Ms. Clifford was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone.”

Cohen’s admission follows a steady drip of revelations regarding Clifford’s alleged affair with Trump in the weeks since the The Wall Street Journal reported the existence of the payment last month. According to documents obtained by the outlet, a shell company associated with Cohen transferred the sum to Clifford around the time that the infamous Access Hollywood tape surfaced. At the time, Clifford was reportedly in talks with Good Morning America and Slate to go public with details of her alleged relationship with Trump. (Trump has denied having an affair with Clifford.)

Cohen, who has worked for the Trump Organization for more than a decade, said that his statement was in response to a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission by a nonpartisan watchdog group. “The complaint alleges that I somehow violated campaign finance laws by facilitating an excess, in-kind contribution,” Cohen wrote. “The allegations in the complaint are factually unsupported and without legal merit.”



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