President Donald Trump reportedly took steps in February to silence Stormy Daniels, the first indication that Trump was directly involved in efforts to keep her from discussing the affair she says she had with him in 2006.
When Trump found out that Daniels, the porn actress whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, was preparing to give an interview about her story, he called Michael Cohen, then still his lawyer, and told him to try to get a restraining order against her, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.
Trump reportedly asked Cohen to coordinate with Trump’s son Eric, who is running the Trump Organization while his father is in office.
Daniels signed a nondisclosure agreement with Cohen in 2016, right before Trump’s surprise victory in the election that year. Trump has denied having an affair with Daniels.
The agreement, including a payment to Daniels that went along with it, has caused Trump and Cohen tremendous legal trouble. Cohen in August pleaded guilty to two counts of campaign finance violations relating to payments to Daniels and to another woman.
Cohen is believed to have since extensively cooperated with the special counsel’s investigation into Russian election interference and the Trump campaign and whether Trump obstructed justice in connection to the investigation.
According to The Journal, Trump asked Cohen to coordinate with Eric Trump, who runs the Trump Organization with his brother Donald Jr. The report said Trump wanted to establish a restraining order through a confidential arbitration proceeding.
Trump previously had not been linked to direct actions meant to silence Daniels, though he has acknowledged reimbursing Cohen for the payment made to her in the nondisclosure agreement.
Any effort by Trump or his inner circle to silence Daniels has not worked, as Daniels has extensively discussed her alleged sexual encounter with Trump, including an unflattering depiction of his habits and anatomy in her recent book.