Donald Trump denied on Thursday knowing anything about the hush money paid to adult film star Stormy Daniels—and Daniels’ lawyer is ecstatic that Trump “finally cracked.”
“We knew he would crack eventually,” Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti told MSNBC Thursday evening. “I’ve been waiting and who would have thought that it would have arrived on this Thursday, this glorious afternoon in New York.”
Okay, let’s back up a second for the backstory. On a flight back from a West Virginia event, Trump was finally asked by reporters about the $130,000 payment made to Daniels in exchange for her signature on a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) and her silence about their alleged affair. That’s when Trump finally broke his unprecedented silence on the matter, pinning the entire episode on his personal attorney Michael Cohen. Here’s the pool report from AF1:
Did he know about the $130K payment to Stormy Daniels? “No.”
Why did Michael Cohen make the payment? “You’ll have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael is my attorney. You’ll have to ask Michael.”
Do you know where the money came from? “No, I don’t know.”
POTUS ignored a question on whether he ever set up a fund of money that Cohen could draw from.
The first thing that answer likely does is invalidate the NDA that Daniels signed (and Trump didn’t) and that Cohen has been using as the foundation to sue Daniels for supposedly violating said agreement.
As Avenatti noted on MSNBC, “How can you have an agreement when one party claims that they don’t know anything about the agreement? […] Our case just got a whole lot better.”
Trump’s answer also puts Cohen in a whole lot of trouble in terms of running afoul of the law. All that trouble is enumerated here but, in short, he could lose his law license for executing an agreement without informing his client, he could be accused of perpetrating fraud, and he could be sued for defamation for accusing Daniels of lying about something that he supposedly never even confirmed with Trump. Additionally, the possibility that this could be construed as an illegal campaign contribution still dangles out there.
On the other hand, Trump’s answer probably makes it more likely that he could be deposed and, if he is found to have lied, that will open up a whole ‘nother can of worms.
One final point Avenatti made is that, it puts an extraordinary amount of pressure on Cohen to take all the heat for this payment and not crack under the weight of it all.
More and more eggs are being placed in the Michael Cohen basket. And if this guy doesn’t hold up ultimately, whether it’s in connection with this case or with Robert Mueller, Katy bar the door—very bad things are going to happen to this administration.