Donald Trump’s uncharacteristic silence is about to be broken. He’s facing a legal challenge that will force him to answer questions about his sexual relationship with a porn star… under oath.
There is no doubt that adult film star Stormy Daniels was paid off by President Trump’s lawyer right before the 2016 election. The lawyer Michael Cohen has openly admitted that, despite saying that the $130,000 payoff was to stop Daniels from spreading lies.
However, the existence of a contract signed by Daniels specifically mentions a sexual relationship between the parties. It’s that very contract that will be Trump’s undoing. Daniels’ bulldog of a lawyer, Michael Avenatti, just filed a request with the court to force Trump and Cohen to testify under oath about this contract.
Stormy Daniels' attorney has filed a motion in federal court seeking to depose President Donald Trump and his lawyer Michael Cohen https://t.co/gA8OcjK5SX
— CNN (@CNN) March 28, 2018
The central question that must be answered is this: What was Trump’s involvement in the hush money payment to Stormy Daniels? From CNN:
‘Daniels said she was pressed to sign the document and her legal team now says the agreement is invalid because it was never signed by Trump.’
In the accompanying motion that Avenatti filed, he explains exactly why questioning Trump is a necessity.
‘This case centers on a dispute concerning whether a settlement agreement, containing a mutual release and terms of non-disclosure, was ever formed between the parties. To be clear, Plaintiff Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels (“Plaintiff”), contends she is not bound by any of the terms and conditions of the agreement… for a variety of reasons.’
The motion is set to be heard on April 30, 2018. We are confident that the Court will permit the requested discovery after applying Supreme Court precedent and the well established law in the Ninth Circuit. https://t.co/PQh6UlNyNL
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) March 28, 2018
At the root, there is a paradox: Trump claims to not be involved with or aware of the payment of hush money to Daniels. If that is true, then the contract (which was unsigned by Trump) is invalid. If that is false, then Trump lied about the affair and was actively paying for Daniels’ silence in the run up to the 2016 election.
The issues stemming from this contract are plentiful. First of all, there’s the potential for campaign finance violations. If Cohen (as he claims) did pay the money entirely on his own, that would be a violation of the maximum campaign donation limit. If the campaign paid Daniels the money, they are guilty of not reporting a campaign expenditure. Secondly, the White House has gone on the record to say that the president did not have an affair with Daniels and was uninvolved with the payment. If that is not true, the White House engaged in a coordinated coverup to benefit the president.
Trump literally cannot exit this deposition without damaging his reputation, no matter what he says or does. We all know how well Trump prepares for depositions.
QUESTION: "What did you do to prepare for the case today, for the deposition?"
DONALD TRUMP: "I would say virtually nothing."
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) March 27, 2018
Featured image: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty