READING THE SIGNS

Report: Cohen Didn’t Want to Pay Stormy Daniels Before ‘Access Hollywood’ Tape Leaked

President Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen initially “balked” at the idea of paying adult film star Stormy Daniels “hush money,” but changed his mind after the infamous Access Hollywood tape was leaked. The Wall Street Journal reports that federal prosecutors in New York are now considering the tape—in which Trump discussed kissing and touching women without consent—as a “trigger” for Cohen to “bury potentially damaging information” about Trump, like Daniels’ alleged affair with the president. According to the newspaper, Cohen was not considering a deal with Daniels prior to the tape. He reached out to Daniels’ representative one day after the tape came out and said he was “open to a deal.” Days after, the adult film star signed a nondisclosure agreement and was paid $130,000. Cohen is currently under investigation for potential violations of campaign-finance laws, tax fraud, bank fraud, and illegal lobbying. Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, recently provided CNN with an audio recording that Cohen made while he and Trump were discussing a payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal—who also claims she had an affair with the president.