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Ex-Porn Star Stormy Daniels Sues President Trump, Says He Never Signed Hush Agreement

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First off, can we just take a moment to appreciate the sheer, unadulterated insanity that is daily life in America right now? I’m in awe of this headline. I studied political science in college and took it very seriously. The functions of government have extremely dramatic consequences for each and every one of us. I wasn’t sure what I would do with my degree, but I figured if I used it to cover politics, I would spend my days doing something thoughtful. Well, reality has a way of altering adolescent expectations. I wish I could go back in time to show my past, idealistic self what he was getting himself into just to see his reaction. Per CNN:

A new lawsuit filed by the porn star known as Stormy Daniels claims President Donald Trump never signed a hush agreement regarding an alleged sexual encounter between the two and therefore the agreement is void.

“Despite Mr. Trump’s failure to sign the Hush Agreement, Mr. Cohen proceeded to cause $130,000.00 to be wired to the trust account of Ms. Clifford’s attorney. He did so even though there was no legal agreement and thus no written nondisclosure agreement whereby Ms. Clifford was restricted from disclosing the truth about Mr. Trump,” the document states.

According to the filing by Clifford’s lawyer, Michael Avenatti, both she and the president used pseudonyms when signing this agreement (David Dennison for Trump, and Peggy Peterson for Clifford), and this is the basis for the lawsuit: the $130,000 payment was never agreed upon by the person who made the payment. They provided a copy of what they said is the agreement, which is clearly unsigned by one party.

*exhales loudly*

OK folks, so if you’re just becoming aware of the (alleged) affair between the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AND A PORN STAR, here’s how we got here:

1. An interview from 2011 with Stephanie Clifford (Stormy Daniels’ legal name) was published in January by In Touch. They said they subjected her to a polygraph test (which she passed), and her accounts were corroborated by a friend and ex-husband who both passed polygraph tests.

2. Clifford claimed that they had “textbook generic sex” right after Melania Trump birthed Barron, and “I actually don’t even know why I did it, but I do remember while we were having sex, I was like, ‘Please, don’t try to pay me.’”

3. In response, Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, vehemently denied the “old, recycled reports, which were published and strongly denied prior to the election.” He did not comment about a $130,000 payment made to Clifford that was reported by In Touch.

4. A month later, Michael Cohen confirmed the payment, telling the New York Times that he made it out of his own pocket and “Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly. The payment to Ms. Clifford was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone.”

5. It was revealed this week that the bank facilitating the transaction flagged it as suspicious, and the WSJ reported that “Mr. Cohen said he missed two deadlines earlier that month to make the $130,000 payment to Ms. Clifford because he couldn’t reach Mr. Trump in the hectic final days of the presidential campaign, the person said.”

This morning, Ms. Clifford’s lawyer confirmed what she told In Touch, asserting that they did have a sexual relationship and that “there’s no question the president knew about” the $130,000 payment.

“Did she [Daniels] have a sexual relationship with the President?” -@savannahguthrie

“Yes.” – Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels’ lawyer pic.twitter.com/Io50QRPCvT— TODAY (@TODAYshow) March 7, 2018

Democratic Representatives Ted Lieu and Kathleen Rice have called for an FBI investigation into the payment to Stephanie Clifford, saying it may violate federal election laws. If Trump did know about this payoff, then it absolutely is a violation of federal campaign law. According to Clifford’s lawyer, “My client doesn’t have a desire to profit from her story.” This is supposedly all about exposing the president’s behavior.

There’s no reason to doubt Stephanie Clifford’s story. The ex-porn star has more independent sources corroborating her side of it than the President of the United States does on his side. If this is about getting paid…well…she already did. That’s the point. She was forced into an agreement by a powerful man who allegedly did not legally agree to it. If her rationale behind this is genuine, then what she is doing is incredibly brave.

The slut-shaming brigade has already popped its head out of the sand in Trumplandia, and it produced one of the most awkward moments ever on CNN. The line out of these septuagenarians is something like “hurrrr she had sex on camera…lolz…how can she be credible?”

What the hell does A have to do with B?

She and key witnesses passed a polygraph test, Trump’s lawyer admitted a payment was made after initially denying it and this lawsuit does not seek financial rewards. As badly as America’s morally bankrupt GOParty wants to turn this into the president versus the porn star, the porn star has demonstrated far more credibility than the president (and not only on this dispute, just, like, in general). Given that Michael Cohen has been caught in one lie on this topic (so far), the onus is on Trump to disprove Stephanie Clifford’s assertions, especially since she feels confident enough to file them in a lawsuit, along with what sure looks like indisputable proof that Trump did not sign the agreement that he forced her into.

Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.

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