By Aaron Blake | Washington Post

When evaluating President Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen’s new admission that he paid porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 out of his own pocket, it’s worth focusing on what he doesn’t deny: namely, that Trump had anything to do with it.

In a statement first reported by the New York Times and also shared with The Washington Post, Cohen says for the first time that he paid Daniels. The Wall Street Journal had first reported the payment as hush money to keep the adult-film actress from disclosing an alleged affair with Trump, but thus far nobody else had confirmed that the payment existed. Cohen’s hand was apparently forced by the watchdog group Common Cause, which last month announced it was filing a complaint arguing that Cohen’s $130,000 payment could be construed as an illegal 2016 campaign contribution.

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Here’s some of what Cohen said Tuesday:

“In a private transaction in 2016, I used my own personal funds to facilitate a payment of $130,000 to Ms. Stephanie Clifford [Daniels’s real name]. 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.”

You might notice there is one main Trump-related entity that Cohen doesn’t deny was “party to the transaction” or reimbursed Cohen, and that’s Trump. It’s also noteworthy that Cohen uses the word “facilitate” – a word that seems to leave open to the possibility that the chain doesn’t end at the use of “my own personal funds.”

It’s difficult to dismiss either as a coincidence, given Cohen is a lawyer and has carefully parsed his comments throughout this situation. He has regularly offered what seemed to be denials but didn’t totally deny the details of what the Journal had reported.

When the Journal first confronted him with its reporting in January, Cohen offered a denial that didn’t directly address whether he had made the payment; instead, he focused on whether the affair happened. “This is now the second time that you are raising outlandish allegations against my client,” he told the Journal. “You have attempted to perpetuate this false narrative …read more

Source:: East Bay – National & World

      

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Analysis: Did Cohen just implicate Trump with Daniels story?

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