Report points to Trump’s role in hush money payments
‘STORMY’ AFFAIR Indictment outlines his role in payouts to women to keep quiet about alleged affairs WASHINGTON:
Federal prosecutors have prepared an 80-page indictment against Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen that outlined the US president’s role in directing payments to women to keep quiet about alleged affairs, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The report on Friday added new details to Cohen’s comments in court when he pleaded guilty in August, in which he said the payments to the women were coordinated with Trump, CNN reported.
Trump was involved in or briefed on nearly every step of the payments that were made to former Playboy model Karen McDougal and adult actor Stephanie Clifford, who goes by the stage name Stormy Daniels, to keep quiet about their alleged affairs with Trump, WSJ said.
The 22-page document prosecutors ultimately filed against Cohen alleged that he coordinated with one or more members of the Trump campaign.
According to the WSJ report, Trump met in August 2015 at the Trump Tower with David Pecker, the CEO of American Media, who offered to use the National Enquirer to buy the silence of women who might try to publicise sexual affairs with Trump.
The criminal filing from prosecutors described the meeting in vague terms, but didn’t go into detail.
During the campaign, Trump asked Pecker to stop McDougal from telling her story, and Pecker’s company paid $150,000 to the former Playboy model.
Then in October 2016, Cohen went on to pay $130,000 to Daniels himself to keep her from going public about an affair with Trump.
The President lawyers declined to comment. Trump has previously denied both affairs.
Michael Avenatti, the lawyer representing Daniels, said the new developments vindicated his client.
“I think the President should be indicted.”
TRUMP SLAMS YET ANOTHER REPORTER
Trump instructed journalists on Friday to show more respect in the “sacred” White House and moments later angrily refused to answer a reporter’s question because it was “stupid”.
The latest clash between the president and the press corps assigned to cover him and the White House followed a meltdown on Wednesday when Trump lashed out at a star CNN reporter as a “terrible person” and had him barred from the White House.
In Friday’s incident, Abby Phillip, also from CNN, asked Trump whether he wanted his new attorney general to hold back an explosive probe into allegations that the president’s 2016 election campaign colluded with Russian agents.
The topic has been one of the main headlines in Washington since Wednesday when Trump abruptly fired Jeff Sessions as attorney general and named Matthew Whitaker, who has strongly criticised the Russia probe, to replace him. Critics have accused Trump of placing an ally who will try to muzzle special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Trump, speaking just before leaving for an international gathering in Paris to commemorate World War I, refused to answer Phillip.
“What a stupid question that is, what a stupid question. But I watch you a lot. You ask a lot of stupid questions,” he said, shaking a finger at the journalist, then walking away.
US President Donald Trump speaks to the press in Washington on Friday before leaving for Paris.