March 20, 2018
The Alleged Donald Trump-Stormy Daniels Affair Is A 'Big Deal' For The Mueller Investigation, Per 'CNBC'

Claims that President Donald Trump had an extra-marital affair with adult movie actor Stormy Daniels have been dominating the tabloids for weeks. Daniels alleges that she had an intimate relationship with Donald Trump over a decade ago. In itself, claims that Trump cheated on his wife years ago are hardly earth-shattering. The real scandal lies in the fact that Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, admitted that he paid Daniels $130,000, from his own funds, to get her to agree to sign a gag order. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Cohen admitted the payment to Daniels was made to "protect" Donald Trump.

It is this payment, and the way it was made, that CNBC claims will be a "big deal" to special counsel Robert Mueller. To be fair, a high-profile name using a no-disclosure agreement to silence negative publicity is hardly unusual. It is the circumstances and the timing of the alleged Trump-Daniels payment that will be of interest to the Mueller investigation.

We should remember that Michael Cohen was Donald Trump's personal lawyer for over a decade. When he admitted to paying off Stormy Daniels, Cohen chose his words very carefully. As reported by Time, Cohen says that he "facilitated" the payment and that "neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party" to it.

"I used my own personal funds to facilitate a payment of $130,000 to Ms. Stephanie Clifford [Stormy Daniels].

"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."

It is worth noting that Cohen does not say Donald Trump was not a party to the payment made to Stormy Daniels.

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Why Are The Stormy Daniels Allegations Of Interest To The Mueller Investigation?

Given that President Trump's alleged affair with Stormy Daniels took place in 2006, why is it of interest to Robert Mueller? Well, the timing of the payment was certainly strange. The alleged "hush-money" payment to Daniels was made in October 2016, just weeks before the presidential election. At that time Donald Trump was mired in allegations of misogyny and accusations that he had mistreated a number of women.

The fact that Michael Cohen set up a new company to facilitate the payment to Stormy Daniels looks suspicious. Cohen also allegedly used fake names for all party's involved in Daniels no-disclosure agreement. It would appear that Cohen took considerable steps to distance Donald Trump and his election campaign from the payment to Daniels. This has led to claims that Trump may have misused campaign funds to silence Daniels.

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The Washington Post also claims that Stormy Daniels is a huge risk to President Trump, but not for the same reasons that CNBC put forward. Daniels, they argue, is "as shameless" as Trump himself. They claim that Daniels is a "publicity hound" who sees this as her opportunity to become "famous for very little" and to amass a fortune. By taking on Trump in the way she has, Daniels, the Washington Post argues, has cast herself as a victim standing up to Trump's bullying.

They liken Daniels to an untreated scratch that becomes infected and eventually kills the recipient. Only time will tell if Storm Daniels becomes the "untreated scratch" that kills Donald Trump's political career.