Like most days in the era of Trump, the news cycle seems endless. It’s one outrage after another, one scandal after another. It’s like living in a Trump news tornado. Sometimes potentially big stories fall through the cracks. That’s the case with the Morning Joe interview with Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels’ skillful attorney. Amidst the chatter about Trump’s utterly unhinged interview on Fox & Friends, Avenatti turned the tables to ask the crew a few leading questions of his own. Take a listen, because Avenatti dropped a Trump Tower-sized hint about a scandal that could very well cost Trump his hardcore evangelical base.
When Judge Kimba Wood forced Michael Cohen to disclose his clients in open court, Cohen named exactly three clients: Donald Trump, the Trump Organization, and Sean Hannity. Elliott Broidy’s name never came out of Cohen’s mouth. This is a very important development because it was less than two weeks ago that it was reported Michael Cohen represented Broidy in a “hush payment” settlement for $1.6 million that involved a Playboy model and an unwanted pregnancy, which was terminated, resulting from the affair. From the New York Times on April 13, 2018:
A major donor with close ties to the White House resigned on Friday as deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee after the revelation that he had agreed to pay $1.6 million to a former Playboy model who became pregnant during an affair.
The deal was arranged in the final months of 2017 by President Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen.
Under the terms of the deal, the Republican donor, Elliott Broidy, would pay the woman in installments over the course of two years, and she would agree to stay silent about their relationship, two people with knowledge of the arrangement told The New York Times. The deal was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
Broidy publicly apologized to his wife and resigned from the Republican National Committee. But … what if he merely agreed to make the payments to the unnamed Playboy model and then later agreed to take the humiliating fall to protect Donald Trump? You’d think a third known affair, one that resulted in an aborted pregnancy, would be quite damaging to Donald Trump with his evangelical base, no?
This seems like a good time to reflect back on an interview Donald Trump did with New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd in April 2016.
In an MSNBC interview with Chris Matthews, the formerly pro-choice Trump somehow managed to end up to the right of the National Right to Life Committee when he said that for women, but not men, “there has to be some form of punishment” if a President Trump makes abortion illegal.
Trump quickly recanted and even told CBS’s John Dickerson that “the laws are set. And I think we have to leave it that way.”
“This was not real life,” he told me. “This was a hypothetical, so I thought of it in terms of a hypothetical. So that’s where that answer came from, hypothetically.”
Given his draconian comment, sending women back to back alleys, I had to ask: When he was a swinging bachelor in Manhattan, was he ever involved with anyone who had an abortion?
“Such an interesting question,” he said. “So what’s your next question?”
Such an interesting question, indeed.
In an April 16, 2018 submission to Judge Kimba Wood, Michael Cohen did list Elliott Broidy as a client.
For at least three other clients that we have identified in the period of 2017 to 2018, the
work was more direct legal advice or dispute resolution–more traditional legal tasks. All of
these clients are individuals. One of these legal clients is Donald J. Trump. Another legal client
is Elliot Broidy. The third legal client directed Mr. Cohen to not to reveal the identity publicly.
Is Avenatti wrong here? Is it possible Broidy was the client after all? Did Cohen and Broidy concoct the story to protect Trump? Stay tuned.