Donald Trump has publicly scoffed at the Russia investigation as “fake news” and a witch hunt, but in private is growing fearful that he could actually be impeached over his hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels and the lies that followed in an attempt to cover it up, a new report claims.
A source close to the White House told CNN correspondent Jim Acosta that Trump believes he can weather the storm of the impending Russia report, but fears that the payment to Daniels is “the only issue that may stick.” Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, had already been convicted of a campaign finance violation for the payment and new court filings indicate that Cohen was working at the direct order of Donald Trump.
Daniels received a payment in the final days of the 2016 presidential election to remain quiet about the alleged affair, which she claims took place in the months after the birth of Donald Trump’s youngest son.
A number of experts and political figures on both sides of the aisle have said that the recent revelations directly connecting Trump with the plot to pay off Stormy Daniels and cover it up will lead to an eventual indictment against the president. As CNN reported, Democrat Adam Schiff, who will soon have wide powers to investigate Trump as incoming chair of the House Intelligence Committee, believes that Trump could be indicted as soon as he leaves office.
“My takeaway is there’s a very real prospect that on the day Donald Trump leaves office the Justice Department may indict him, that he may be the first President in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time,” Schiff said in an appearance on Face the Nation in regard to Trump’s connection to the Stormy Daniels payment.
As the report noted, Trump is increasingly fearful that he will be impeached over the payment but holds out hope that the Republican-controlled Senate can save him.
“The campaign finance issue tied to the alleged mistresses is not viewed as having the firepower to trigger a bipartisan vote for conviction and removal in the Senate,” the source said.
But these estimates are based on what White House officials believe that Robert Mueller’s investigation has in the way of direct evidence against Donald Trump, the report noted. If the final report on the Russia investigation were to strongly and directly implicate Donald Trump either in a plot to collude with Russia or to cover up the involvement, the situation could change.