Just when you think it’s all Brett Kavanaugh, all the time, up pops Stormy Daniels as a reminder that Donald Trump faces multiple perils that he can’t simply wave away with a magic wand. Today, it’s a story in the Wall Street Journal, a newspaper that is sometimes supposed by Trump’s detractors to be in the hip pocket of the president, but that is actually proving quite nettlesome to him. It reveals that Donald Trump has — surprise! — been much more enmeshed in trying to squash the Daniels story than he has acknowledged.
Recall that when quizzed about whether he knew the payment to Daniels on April 5 on Air Force One, Trump responded with a flat ‘no.’ That turned out to not be true. Now, according to the Journal, Trump personally deputed his lawyer Michael Cohen to seek a restraining order against Daniels and to coordinate the effort with his son Eric Trump. This indicates that the president has been much more closely involved with the Daniels saga than was previously known, but also that he continues to involve himself with the affairs, as it were, of the Trump Organization itself. He said he wasn’t. But that appears to be bogus.
His son Eric is supposed to be running the organisation together with Don Jr., but the two are most likely figureheads. In any case, it shows you that when bailing out Dad for his past sexual peccadilloes, it’s all in the family when it comes to the Trumps. Don and Eric have become his paramour cleanup crew. What Melania, who’s already jetted off to Africa, makes of all this is another story. Perhaps she’ll decide to remain there for the nonce.
Those concerned about Trump using the presidency to fill the coffers of his own company will be delighted about the forthcoming Forbes 400 list: as Dan Alexander reports, ‘his net worth, by our calculation, has dropped from $4.5 billion in 2015 to $3.1 billion the last two years.’
The latest flap over Stormy Daniels is also bound to affect the Kavanaugh nomination. Both Kavanaugh and Trump are congenital liars, and the latest revelations about Trump cast further light on the assiduity with which both men disseminate their serial fictions. The Journal, in describing Trump’s tarradiddles, put it this way: ‘In March, the Trump Organization denied any role in the arbitration, saying its lawyer assisted in her ‘individual capacity.’ At the same time, the White House issued blanket denials when asked about a hush payment to Ms Clifford and directed questions to Mr Cohen, who had called the deal a private transaction between himself and the former adult-film star. Mr Trump has denied any sexual encounter with Ms Clifford.’
New information keeps surfacing about both Trump and Kavanaugh. Deny, deny, and deny, as Trump apparently recommends when it comes to deal with accusations of sexual harassment from women, is also the strategy that Kavanaugh is employing. Whether it will work for either him or Trump, however, is increasingly open to question. In seeking to silence Daniels, Trump may ultimately have handed her a potent public platform to expose his misdeeds and to draw further attention to Kavanaugh’s past. Already her attorney Michael Avenatti is tweeting about the Journal article: ‘this describes what we have been saying for months and what Trump and Cohen denied repeatedly. In the same way Trump is now attacking Julie Swetnick. He is a thug and a liar.’