The audio’s a little confusing as it switches quickly between 2007 and 2018 and back again more than once. But CNN’s write-up is clear enough: That’s “Bubba the Love Sponge” confirming that when he asked Daniels 11 years ago to name a famous man she had slept with, she wrote down Trump’s name. And he wasn’t the only one in the room who saw it. The small clue she gave about where they met — in Nevada but not Vegas — also checks out with what she’s said elsewhere. Supposedly it was at a golf event in Lake Tahoe in 2006 where they got together.
Bubba the Love Sponge Clem, known as Todd Clem before he legally changed his name in 1999, played portions of the interview on his radio show Friday and Monday, in which Daniels was asked to write down the names of famous men she had slept with. Clem says the first name on that list was Donald Trump. Although neither Daniels nor the host says Trump’s name in the 2007 audio, she can be heard describing key details that match the description of her alleged affair with Trump.
Clem said on his radio program that Daniels was talking about Trump, and later verified the same information to CNN. CNN independently corroborated the story with another person who was in Clem’s studio that day, who would speak only on the condition of anonymity. That person also said Donald Trump’s name was the first on Daniels’ list…
[Daniels] said [at the time] she found it “horribly embarrassing” that this person was the best in bed of the three people on her list and added that the person contacted her “twice a month.”
This is further evidence, if more was needed, that Daniels didn’t wait until he became a presidential contender to start telling people she’d had an affair with Trump. Her interaction with Clem would be the earliest example of her spilling the beans that’s publicly known but she allegedly told a political consultant circa 2009 and did the infamous In Touch interview in 2011. Various friends of hers have claimed to have been present during phone calls between her and Trump while the relationship was ongoing. At least two say that she put him on speakerphone so others could listen in. If this whole thing has been a big lie, it’s a lie she’s apparently been telling for more than 10 years with no big-money reason to do so until three years ago.
Also, a striking thing about the Daniels saga is that, as far as I’m aware, she’s never been caught out in a contradiction. The detail about Lake Tahoe in the radio interview is a tiny thing but it reminded me of this post about the In Touch story, in which she revealed all manner of trivia about her time with Trump — some of which, it turns out, can be corroborated. My favorite example is her remembering in 2011 a particular episode of “Shark Week” that they’d watched together, one involving the USS Indianapolis. If you google around you’ll discover that there was indeed a program devoted to that subject that ran during Shark Week 2007, when they would have been seeing each other. Maybe she was such a cunning liar that she researched four-year-old TV listings in 2011 to find something she could drop into a story to lend credence to the claim that she was with Trump at the time, but probably not. But then, no one’s seriously arguing that Daniels is lying at this point, right? Not after Michael Cohen admitted that he gave her $130,000 for mysterious unspecified reasons.
According to CNN, POTUS is consulting with friends and advisors on what he should do. Quote: “The source said Trump is being told by advisers not to fight Daniels’ decision to break a confidentiality agreement because it would make him look guilty.” The path of least resistance makes the most sense, as she’ll tell her story, he’ll go on denying it, people will get bored after a few days, and then he won’t have to worry about her anymore. The wrinkle is what happens with any other women who are under NDAs. If Daniels gets to speak up with impunity, why wouldn’t they decide to speak up too? Why should Stormy be the only presidential mistress to cash in? It’s weird that superlawyer Michael Cohen didn’t have a plan for what to do in the event that some former paramour simply decided to ignore a hush-money agreement that she had signed and start blabbing. Maybe, like everyone else, Cohen assumed Trump would lose the election and could quietly sue Daniels if she broke the contract. Oops.
Per her lawyer, it looks like she’s ready to go nuclear:
The President and Mr. Cohen have purposely ignored our settlement offer, thus doubling down on their efforts to muzzle Ms. Clifford and prevent her from telling the American people what happened. Time to buckle up. #basta
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) March 13, 2018
One thing I keep wondering is whether Cohen might eventually come after her for violating the part of the hush-money agreement where she was asked to list everyone who’d received “confidential information” from her about Trump. She listed four friends, conveniently omitting the In Touch interview in 2011 and also omitting the 2007 interaction with Bubba the Love Sponge. If he’s prepared to litigate this, and if the agreement holds up in court, he’d seem to have her dead to rights for breaching that part of it.
But Cohen has bigger things to worry about. Here’s a fascinating little post at Medium that purports to use probability to “prove” that he was reimbursed for the $130,000 payment to Daniels not by Trump himself but by the *campaign*, in which case it would need to be disclosed per campaign finance laws. Turns out that a series of payments were made by the campaign in late October 2016 to various entities that total $129,999.72 — almost the precise amount paid to Daniels. The authors of the Medium post used a statistical analysis to try to determine how likely it is that the total of a set of payments made around the same time would correspond so closely to the amount of a known payment as a matter of pure chance. Result: One in a thousand. Huh.
Your exit question, via the liberal New Republic: Why is it that Monica Lewinsky was reviled for her affair with a president while Stormy Daniels is practically being celebrated for hers? Any theories?