A leftover from last night that kept getting crowded out by more important news today. How absurd has this story become? I mean, really:
Stormy Daniels (going on Kimmel tonight after Trump's State of the Union) issues a new statement saying she is denying having an affair with Trump not because of a settlement but because “it never happened.”
She would also like you to follow her on Instagram.
— Tom Namako (@TomNamako) January 30, 2018
That was released yesterday around 5 p.m. Funny thing: Her signature on that statement didn’t look much like the signature on the original statement denying an affair with Trump that was released on January 12.
Cohen also passed along an image of this letter to me, signed from "Stormy Daniels" and dated Jan 10, 2018, denying rumors of hush money from Trump and calling them "completely false." https://t.co/J0taBJZLP5 pic.twitter.com/MX4qgVhyN2
— Ali Vitali (@alivitali) January 12, 2018
Jimmy Kimmel noticed too and asked her about it during last night’s post-SOTU interview with Daniels. Watch below. Her reply: “That does not look like my signature, does it?”
Just received this email from Stormy Daniels attorney about her comments on Jimmy Kimmel tonight: pic.twitter.com/fRN4DkEums
— Lauren Gambino (@laurenegambino) January 31, 2018
She and Trump have both mastered The Art of the Gaslight. Affair or no affair, at least they have that in common.
Now that we’re far enough into the hall of mirrors to be analyzing signatures on press releases to see if they constitute “real” denials or not, it’s safe to say that Stormygate has run its course. In the end there are only two possibilities. One: There’s no NDA, no hush money, no affair. In reality Daniels is a brilliant self-promoter who knew the public would lap up a sensational story about a tryst between Trump and a porn star with whom he posed for a photo at an event 12 years ago. It was her own team who leaked the claim of a $130,000 hush-money payment to the Wall Street Journal, knowing that public interest in her would explode once the story was published. And now, sure enough, here she is as the star guest on Jimmy Kimmel’s show. It’s a grand con, expertly executed. And the best part is, because of the hush-money allegation, she never has to formally confirm or deny anything. She can just cock her eyebrow at questions about her and Trump, keep quiet, and let people wonder.
The other possibility: It’s all true and she really is under an NDA. The written denials (signed with her stage name, do note, not her real name) may be required of her under the terms of the agreement but she has yet to say in an interview that nothing happened with Trump. If you subscribe to the theory that there was no affair, you’re forced having to explain away years of statements by Daniels to the contrary, most famously in an interview with In Touch in 2011 (after which she was polygraphed and passed) but also to lesser known entities, like a political consultant in 2009. There’s no evidence that she tried to profit from her story about Trump until late in the 2016 campaign cycle. If it’s all a con, why was she running this con nearly 10 years ago and to what end if she wasn’t making money off of it? Why can so many of the small details in her In Touch interview be corroborated now, years later? And if the hush money supposedly paid to shut her up is itself a big lie crafted by Daniels to stoke public interest, why did she receive $130,000 in October 2016 from a Delaware LLC apparently founded that month by Trump lawyer Michael Cohen?
Occam’s Razor suggests one possibility is much more likely than the other. But it’s a waste of time to pursue it further since (a) no one cares except for poor Melania Trump and (b) Daniels is going to continue this irritating “did I or didn’t I?” shtick ad nauseam, which is in her interest promotion-wise. If you’re going to form a judgment about what happened, you’ve got all the evidence you’re ever likely to get.
The bit with the puppets here is cute, though.