This week in politics saw the Democrats winning the House (House party, anyone?), Trump firing his Attorney General and placing a hot tub salesman in charge of the Mueller investigation, and another mass shooting that killed 12 people.
If you were thinking, "Hey, the one thing this week is missing is a report that President Trump was heavily involved in the criminal conspiracy covering up his affairs with porn stars," then do I have the report for you!
The Wall Street Journal just broke the news that Trump directed the payoffs to porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal, the campaign finance violation Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to in federal court.
WSJ reports that in 2015, Trump met with his friend David Pecker —owner of The National Enquirer—and arranged for Pecker to buy women's silence by purchasing the "exclusive rights" to their stories. The Journal says that that meeting is just one of many instances in which the president was directly involved in suppressing news that wouldn't jive with his new evangelical alliance.
This is yet another controversial Trump Tower meeting that Trump and is team have lied about.
The Journal reports:
The Trump Tower meeting [between Trump and Pecker] and its aftermath are among several previously unreported instances in which Mr. Trump intervened directly to suppress stories about his alleged sexual encounters with women, according to interviews with three dozen people who have direct knowledge of the events or who have been briefed on them, as well as court papers, corporate records and other documents.
Taken together, the accounts refute a two-year pattern of denials by Mr. Trump, his legal team and his advisers that he was involved in payoffs to Ms. McDougal and a former adult-film star. They also raise the possibility that the president of the United States violated federal campaign-finance laws.
The Wall Street Journal found that Mr. Trump was involved in or briefed on nearly every step of the agreements. He directed deals in phone calls and meetings with his self-described fixer, Michael Cohen, and others. The U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan has gathered evidence of Mr. Trump’s participation in the transactions.
Oh, and LORDY, there are tapes!
"Mr. Cohen, who complained to associates about Mr. Trump’s frugality, was also worried his boss would balk at reimbursing Mr. Pecker. He secretly recorded Mr. Trump discussing the deal," the Journal writes.
The key fact here is that Trump allegedly told Pecker and Cohen to "get it done," and keep Stormy and McDougal quiet, and doing it for the purpose of helping his campaign.
Pecker is said to have "researched campaign-finance laws before entering into the McDougal deal," which sure seems like some sort of consciousness of guilt.
While we're mostly desensitized to Trump controversies at this point, this is a big f*cking deal.
Stormy Daniels' lawyer, Michael Avenatti, has chimed in.
Republicans will do absolutely nothing about federal prosecutors having proof of possible crimes committed by the president, but the new Democratic House (!!!) starting in January might.
The Wall Street Journal has the nitty-gritty on how the Devil's Triangle of Trump, Pecker, and Cohen issued the payments. Read the whole thing here.