Just when you thought you’d heard all there was to tell about the payment of $130,000 to adult film star Stormy Daniels that President Trump’s personal lawyer “facilitated,” Michael Cohen, the aforementioned attorney, piped up with another statement regarding the alleged affair that all parties deny happened. At The Washington Post, columnist Paul Waldman says Cohen’s latest statement is interesting as much for what it doesn’t say as for what it does. Here’s what Waldman says is the key part from Cohen’s latest statement:
In a private transaction in 2016, I used my own personal funds to facilitate a payment of $130,000 to Ms. Stephanie Clifford. 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. The payment to Ms. Clifford was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone.
Waldman notes that Cohen doesn’t say he used his own money to make the payment; he “used his own personal funds to facilitate a payment of $130,000 to Ms. Stephanie Clifford,” which is Ms. Daniels’ real name. While Cohen takes pains to emphasize “Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign” was involved, ethics experts say Cohen may have made an “in-kind” donation to the Trump campaign — implicating himself.
Another interesting thing is that there’s no denial that Trump himself may paid the hush money or reimbursed Cohen for the payment. Still another is this observation by Waldman, “Remember: The president may have had an affair with a porn star who was paid $130,000 in hush money to keep it quiet, and we treat it like it’s the third- or fourth-most scandalous thing that happened this week.”