I’m as surprised as you are. Normally when Jim “Money” Acosta reports something, you can take it to the bank.
From @Acosta: A source close to White House says Trump is upset with @PressSec Sarah Sanders over her handling of Stormy Daniels questions yesterday. “POTUS is very unhappy,” the source said. “Sarah gave the Stormy Daniels storyline steroids yesterday,” the source added.
— David Wright (@DavidWright_CNN) March 8, 2018
CNN is sufficiently excited about it to give it this treatment:
Instructive snapshot of this media moment: A purportedly serious national news outlet leading with an anonymous single-sourced story about White House gossip. This made the TV chyron for a bit too. pic.twitter.com/xlbhpFYoV4
— Emily Jashinsky (@emilyjashinsky) March 8, 2018
Ain’t true, says John Roberts of Fox, echoed by Jonathan Swan of Axios.
— John Roberts (@johnrobertsFox) March 8, 2018
— Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan) March 8, 2018
Imagine getting mad at the White House press secretary for not having a shrewd enough answer about a lawsuit filed by a porn star claiming an extramarital affair with the president. They don’t teach that in PR 101, bro.
Should POTUS take issue with what Sanders said yesterday, though? She claimed that “This case has already been won in arbitration,” which (a) isn’t true (a restraining order has been granted while it plays out in arbitration) and (b) seems to acknowledge that Trump really is involved in the dispute between Stormy Daniels and Michael Cohen. Otherwise why not just say, “The matter to which you’re referring has nothing to do with the president”? She fueled the media fire a bit, however unintentionally.
And while we’re on the subject of the restraining order, a few lawyerly Twitter pals noticed something I missed yesterday in my post about it. It’s true that there’s a provision in the hush-money agreement granting an arbitrator power to silence Stormy upon request by another party. But which opposing party? There are three. “PP” stands for “Peggy Peterson” a.k.a. Stormy and “DD” stands for “David Dennison,” supposedly the alias for Trump. The third party is “EC, LLC,” the outfit created by Michael Cohen for purposes of transferring the money to Daniels. Here’s the provision about restraining orders. Which party or parties gets to use it?
David Dennison, i.e. Donald Trump, is entitled to seek a restraining order from the arbitrator. But it wasn’t Trump who sought and got the order against her two weeks ago. That was Cohen and EC, LLC — which isn’t mentioned in this clause. So why’d the arbitrator grant him the injunction? That’s the next legal battle to be fought here.
Bloomberg spoke to a few lawyers about her chances of getting the hush-money agreement tossed out. Not good, most of them agreed:
“At least for a few months, it appeared that all parties were relying on the agreement as if it had been formally consummated,” [employment lawyer Michael] Willemin said by telephone. “The way that the parties act is evidence of mutual consent.”…
Kate Rhodes, an employment attorney with Epstein Becker & Green PC, said the agreement makes it clear that counter-parties can sign the contract, and it’s signed by Cohen. “Because she signed the agreement and took the money, under most jurisdictions that would be enough to enforce it against the parties,” Rhodes said…
“It’s the agreement that matters — the document is just the best evidence of what the terms are,” [litigator Louis] Ciavarra said in a phone call. “So what is the plaintiff saying there? That she never had an agreement?”
How much could Daniels potentially owe Trump if she’s found liable for breaching the agreement? Errrr…
She should start a GoFundMe. For each million she rakes in from anti-Trumpers, she’s entitled to one additional breach!
There was one lawyer who spoke to Bloomberg who thinks Daniels has a fighting chance in court: “If they can show this whole thing is illegal, based on the federal election law, then generally courts are not going to enforce contracts that encourage illegal behavior.” The odds are fair that the payment to Daniels would be deemed a campaign contribution by the FEC and that either Trump or Cohen or both are guilty of not reporting it, as the law requires. But that wouldn’t mean that the hush-money agreement itself is illegal. Why would a court throw out an otherwise valid contract because one of the parties failed to comply with a statutory reporting requirement related to it?
Here’s Van Jones and the gang at CNN asking the most popular question in media right now: What if Obama did it?