March 15, 2018


Why The Stormy Daniels Case Matters  (David Cay Johnston, March 9, 2018,

Virtually everyone who has worked for Trump since the late 1980s has been required to sign a nondisclosure agreement, or NDA, as a condition of working for him. Even some low-level campaign volunteers had to sign NDAs, which included lifetime promises to never speak critically of Trump, his family or the Trump Organization.

Clifford has asked a Los Angeles County superior court judge to lift any restrictions on telling about what she says was an affair with Trump that began in 2006 and continued well into 2007, when Trump's third wife, the former soft-core porn model Melania Knaus, was caring for their infant son.

The lawsuit states Clifford has documentary evidence of the affair, which she plans to make public if the court rules in her favor.

Trump, aided by personal lawyer Michael D. Cohen, "aggressively sought to silence" Clifford, the lawsuit asserts.

Clifford and her lawyer say Trump never signed the agreement, making it null and void. They also say public statements by Cohen negate the deal.

The Trump White House has denied any affair. At the same time, both Trump, Cohen and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders have backhandedly confirmed there was an affair and, significantly, that hush money was paid.

Our interest is not in the illicit sex. Rich and powerful men dallying is hardly news. Rather our interest is in the denials, the cover-up and what those actions tell us and how they jeopardized national security.

People with dark secrets, the kind that make them vulnerable to blackmail, are routinely denied national security clearances. By virtue of his office, Trump has access to every secret--including ones he delivered to Russian emissaries last year, as we learned from the Kremlin.

We know that Clifford is not the only woman who could come forward. Earlier the parent company of one of Trump's favorite newspapers, the supermarket tabloid The National Enquirer, paid $150,000 to the 1999 Playmate of the Year to never speak of her 2006 fling with Trump.

How many others with dark secrets of all sorts are out there, hidden from the American people because of nondisclosure agreements or hush money? What of the mobsters and the major international drug trafficker with whom Trump has done business and lucrative favors--the ones we know about from court records, a letter he wrote and New Jersey casino regulatory files?

BuzzFeed maneuver could free Stormy Daniels to speak on Trump (JOSH GERSTEIN 03/14/2018, Politico)

Now, BuzzFeed is using Cohen's libel suit as a vehicle to demand that Daniels preserve all records relating to her relationship with Trump, as well as her dealings with Cohen and the payment he has acknowledged arranging in 2016.

On Tuesday, BuzzFeed's lawyer wrote to Daniels' attorney asking that the adult film actress, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, preserve various categories of documents. Such preservation letters are often a prelude to a subpoena. If Daniels' testimony is formally demanded in a deposition, the nondisclosure agreement would likely be no obstacle, legal experts said.

The letter from BuzzFeed's attorney, obtained by POLITICO, argues that Cohen's role in paying Daniels is similar to allegations in the dossier about Cohen. The dossier alleges that Cohen met Russian legal officials and legislators in Prague in August 2016 in a bid to "sweep ... under the carpet" details of the relationship between Russia and Trump campaign officials like Paul Manafort and Rick Gates. Cohen has flatly denied the claim.

"Mr. Cohen's role in President Trump's 2016 campaign, including but not limited to any payments he made or facilitated to third parties during or in connection with the campaign, is therefore directly relevant to" Cohen's suit, BuzzFeed lawyer Katherine Bolger wrote.

Posted by at March 15, 2018 7:00 AM