The Porn Star ‘Hush Money’ Matters In The Russia Investigation, And Here’s Why | THE POLITICUS

The Porn Star ‘Hush Money’ Matters In The Russia Investigation, And Here’s Why

It may seem, at first blush, that the news of Donald Trump’s lawyer to adult film star Stephanie Clifford – who goes by the screen name “Stormy Daniels” in the porn industry – is just another scandal, a small satellite in the orbit of Planet Trump. And maybe that’s not far from the truth if you remove all context from what happened.

The payment was first reported in the Wall Street Journal, hardly a bastion of liberal “fake news” that Trump regularly calls out. In fact, since it’s been purchased by Rupert Murdoch, the Fox News magnate, the opinion pages in the venerated Journal have become only more conservative in their perspectives. That doesn’t necessarily lend credence to the story of the 2006 affair itself that is alleged, but then, the payment is not what’s been disputed by the president, his lawyer, or the actress in question.

Couple that with the fact that this is to an adult industry entertainer made on Trump’s behalf — not even the only one that year — and the pattern becomes clear: Whatever activity led to them, Trump made payments to some adult stars in exchange for their silence on the nature of that activity. In fact, denials of the payments do nothing in the service of disproving them, because not admitting it is kind of the point of hush money in the first place. If Stormy Daniels admitted that she got a check in exchange for silence, she’s not really being silent anymore. In fact, she can’t even refute the (it sounds like it was dictated by Trump and it’s signed with her screen name) being circulated by Trump’s lawyer without being in danger of losing the money she secured in the deal.

So how does that relate to the ongoing Russia investigation?

When the Steele Dossier was ten days before Trump’s inauguration, the primary defense against it by the Trump campaign was that it couldn’t be true because it alleged that he either was being or could be blackmailed by the Kremlin, and the campaign asserted that it simply wasn’t possible to blackmail Trump. Whether it was because everyone already knew everything bad about him, or because he was so careful that no one could ever get compromising information on him, or because Trump’s infidelities were “open secrets” with his wives and he had never cheated on Melania anyway, the campaign insisted that because Trump couldn’t be blackmailed, the rest of the dossier was bogus as well.

But with this news, every word of that paragraph becomes false.

The activity that led to both payments to adult stars occurred in 2006, so any cheating would have been after his marriage to Melania. There was never a court case in either situation, which means that the payments were made literally at the first sign of the information coming to light — which is the definition of blackmail.

And the most salacious claims in the dossier — the so-called “Pee Tapes” — were perhaps the part of the dossier that Trump most strenuously objected to, because, again, why would he cheat on a beautiful woman like Melania, and also he would never find himself in a hotel room with a couple of sex workers. Like after his lawyer denied the Journal‘s story again on Friday. So I guess that’s another theory out the window for Team Trump.

Perhaps most importantly, the fact that Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, arranged the payments establishes another key allegation in the Steele Dossier: That Trump has long used Cohen as a “fixer” to avoid scandals precisely like the ones he’s facing right now. That means every statement from Cohen during the Russia investigation is now in question, since it’s confirmed that at least this aspect of the dossier is true.

And if a porn star whose name you can only remember at this point in the article because it sounds like a meteorologist on a fictional TV show can get $130,000 from Trump for her silence on a plain vanilla sexcapade from a dozen years ago, imagine what Vladimir Putin could get in exchange for REAL Kompromat.


Featured image composite via Ethan Miller/Getty Images/PNG Gallery

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