Even as Donald Trump’s affair with Stormy Daniels becomes a more salacious sex scandal by the day, it also becomes a more brazenly criminal financial scandal by the day. Not only did Trump have his attorney Michael Cohen pay $130,000 in hush money to Daniels during the election in violation of federal campaign laws, it appears Trump actually came out $130,000 ahead on the transaction.
It’s already been firmly established that Cohen paid the $130,000 to Daniels out of his own pocket. Cohen has claimed that he made that payment without Trump’s involvement or knowledge. No one believes him. It’s since been reported that Cohen has privately complained to associates that Trump was supposed to reimburse him and never did. In other words, Trump ripped off Cohen and left him with the tab. But now it gets even worse, because it looks like the Trump campaign did pay the $130,000 to Donald Trump.
When the $130,000 figure first surfaced, Palmer Report pointed out that it was a strange number for a settlement. Why not a round number $100,000 or $200,000? We still don’t know how or why Cohen and Daniels agreed on that particular number. But the oddly specific nature of the number has made it easier to track. Attorney Susan Simpson dug through election filings (link), and discovered that the Trump campaign made a series of payments to Donald Trump’s properties adding up to $130,000 on what appears to be the same day that Cohen paid Daniels that same amount.
So now it’s fairly clear what happened here. Michael Cohen paid $130,000 to Stormy Daniels to silence her just before the election, a violation of federal law. Donald Trump then took $130,000 from the Trump campaign for the purpose of reimbursing Cohen, also a violation of federal law. Trump then pocketed the $130,000 instead of giving it to Cohen, meaning Trump effectively stole the money from both his campaign and from Cohen. In other words, Trump profited financially from his affair with Daniels. Paging Robert Mueller.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report