Does Stormy Daniels have, er, photos from Trump?
Probably not, no, but Josh Marshall of TPM made some waves last night among lefty media with his reading of Daniels’s complaint against Trump. Here’s the document. The hush-money agreement between Daniels, Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, and (allegedly) Trump himself is attached to it as Exhibit 1.
This paragraph features early on in the hush-money agreement. “PP” stands for Peggy Peterson, which is the alias used by Daniels. “DD” stands for David Dennison, the alias allegedly used by Trump. Marshall thinks maybe, just maybe, this is a reference to dick pics. I’m skeptical but it’s interesting.
Cohen seems to have something specific in mind there per the reference to Exhibit 1 in the Side Letter Agreement. The Side Letter Agreement is also attached to the document released yesterday by Daniels but the exhibit isn’t. What sort of confidential “Property” of his does she have? Bear in mind, it’s not necessarily explicit photos that Cohen and Trump are worried about. “Any* candid of Trump in her possession would raise the question of how she got it and would suggest a relationship between the two. Any text message to her from a number connected to Trump would cause the same problem. Maybe POTUS and Cohen checked Trump’s phone, identified all the texts he sent her, and listed those as the “Property” in the exhibit.
Or maybe Cohen has a form hush-money agreement that he’s used for Trump before with other women and this provision was sloppily carried over from that template, even though it didn’t apply in Daniels’s case.
Either way, Cohen and Trump would obviously want back any confidential “Property” of his that Daniels might have, as the whole point of the agreement is to create plausible deniability that they know each other. That means having her return any hard evidence of communications between them. Hence the broad language of this provision:
Other provisions in the agreement noted by Marshall clearly are boilerplate, like one noting that Trump retains the right to create “derivative works” out of the material returned to him by Daniels. That’s standard IP language, albeit admittedly strange in this context.
Another thing: If Daniels had some sensational keepsake from her affair with Trump like a dick pic, you would think she might have mentioned it before. She wasn’t shy about talking about their relationship before the hush-money agreement, having gone so far as to tell In Touch in her 2011 interview with them that she could describe “his junk” if need be. But she’s never alluded to incriminating photos as far as I’m aware. On the contrary, she says over and over in the In Touch interview that Trump would only ever call her from blocked numbers, apparently fearful of leaving any evidence — even on caller ID — that the two were communicating. Does that sound like a guy who’d send texts or photos that could easily be traced back to him?
Anyway, is Daniels going to win her suit and blow the lid off l’affaire Trump? Megyn Kelly read the hush-money agreement too and made a fair point this morning on her show. Daniels’s complaint asserts that the agreement is unenforceable because Trump himself never signed — which is true. The “David Dennison” signature line is blank on the copy attached to her complaint. But did Trump *need* to sign? Here’s how the agreement begins:
Note the “and/or” language, said Kelly. “EC, LLC” did sign the agreement (via Michael Cohen). As such, was “David Dennison” required to sign? If no then Daniels is in trouble. But if no, what did Dennison/Trump sign to suggest that EC, LLC could sign an agreement on his behalf that imposes certain legal obligations on him? Would the standard lawyer/client retainer between Cohen and Trump suffice given that Cohen was representing EC, LLC in this deal?
Cohen could be in trouble too. From Daniels’s complaint:
An attorney facilitating a false statement? That’s a no-no. Luckily, Michael Cohen seems like a bastion of professional rectitude. I’m sure it’s a misunderstanding.
Via Newsbusters, here’s “The View” wondering how a GOP House would have handled revelations about Obama signing hush-money agreements with porn stars. I don’t think they would have impeached just because they learned a hard lesson the last time they went after a Democratic president over a sex scandal. But would the right have *wanted* them to impeach? You tell me.