The Trump team really don’t want to you to see the 60 Minutes interview with Stormy Daniels. Here’s a new detail, as reported by this new BuzzFeed article. Lawyers linked to Donald Trump are reportedly considering legal action to stop CBS from airing the segment featuring Daniels (real name Stephanie Clifford), the adult porn star who reportedly said she had an affair with the president in 2006.
It’s worth mentioning how BuzzFeed described their source. This isn’t described as someone with a first-hand role in the decision making.
“We understand from well-placed sources they are preparing to file for a legal injunction to prevent it from airing,” a person informed of the preparations told BuzzFeed News on Saturday evening.
It’s unclear what legal argument the legal team would make (for example, CBS never signed a non-closure agreement with anyone regarding this subject). Hard to say, because no one involved publicly commented. The outlet contacted Michael Cohen, the Trump lawyer who admittedly paid Clifford $130,000 in October 2016 for a reason that he didn’t disclose, and he referred them to his attorney Larry Rosen. Rosen said that yes, he’s representing Cohen, but as BuzzFeed described it, he “did not comment directly on the possibility of seeking an injunction.”
Clifford gave InTouch an interview in 2011, telling them about the affair. The outlet published the article only last month. Four former employees said that the magazine didn’t release it for years because of a legal threat from Cohen, according to The Associated Press.
Now, however, Clifford lawyered up with attorney Michael Avenatti, and sued Trump on Tuesday, saying that Cohen paid her to stay quiet about the affair. She claimed the non-disclosure agreement wasn’t actually valid because Trump never actually signed it. As a matter of fact, Cohen pursued arbitration against her last month.
Why is all this important? Well, Cohen’s payment to Clifford leaves the president open to legal trouble. Remember, his statement, which was sent to the New York Times, insisted that neither Trump nor the campaign participated were parties in the transaction, nor knew about it. That explanation didn’t convince everybody.
Either way, it is not clear that this keeps Cohen out of legal trouble for either making an excessive campaign contribution or serving as a conduit for Trump’s unreported campaign expenditure.
Just because Cohen says it is not campaign related doesn’t make it so. https://t.co/8wcP3GRwaL
— Rick Hasen (@rickhasen) February 14, 2018
The watchdog group Common Cause filed a complaint in January after The Wall Street Journal first reported the existence of the payment. They demand a federal investigation.
So with all that in mind, yeah, Clifford’s interview with 60 Minutes is going to be pretty interesting.
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) March 8, 2018
BuzzFeed learned that CBS plans on airing the interview next Sunday, March 18.
Note: Updated with the airdate of the interview.
[Image via Ethan Miller/Getty Images]