Sunday 18 August, 2019

White House: Trump rejects Stormy Daniels threat claims

Image: AP: Stormy Daniels gives an interview to Anderson Cooper on 25 March 2018)

Image: AP: Stormy Daniels gives an interview to Anderson Cooper on 25 March 2018)

The White House on Monday said President Donald Trump has consistently denied the allegations leveled by porn star Stormy Daniels in her "60 Minutes" interview, and said Trump does not believe her claim that she was threatened to stay quiet over their alleged affair.

White House spokesman Raj Shah declined to say whether the president had actually watched the Sunday broadcast. But he nonetheless said Trump does not believe "any of the claims that Ms Daniels made last night in the interview are accurate".

"The president strongly, clearly and has consistently denied these underlying claims, and the only person who's been inconsistent is the one making the claims," he said.

In the interview, Daniels said she'd slept with Trump once, shortly after now-first lady Melania Trump gave birth to the president's youngest son. She also said that a man approached her in a Las Vegas parking lot in 2011, when she was with her infant daughter, and threatened her with physical harm if she went public with her story.

In a letter late on Sunday night, an attorney for Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, demanded that Daniels publicly apologize to his client for suggesting he was involved in her intimidation.

"In truth, Mr Cohen had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with any such person or incident, and does not even believe that any such person exists, or that such incident ever occurred," wrote Brent H Blakely. He said Daniels and her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, should "cease and desist from making any further false and defamatory statements about my client".

Daniels, in response, filed a revised federal lawsuit accusing Cohen of defamation. The suit now alleges Cohen made a false statement that damaged Daniels' reputation when he released a statement in February that intimated she was lying.

Daniels told "60 Minutes" she had consensual sex once with the future president, providing a few salacious details but little new evidence of the encounter.

Still, she said that she'd been rattled by the parking lot incident in which she a man had told her to "leave Trump alone" and "forget the story". She said the man looked over at her daughter, and said: "That's a beautiful little girl. It'd be a shame if something happened to her mom."

Daniels received a $130,000 payment days before the 2016 presidential election for her silence and has sought to invalidate a nondisclosure agreement she signed. Cohen has said he paid the $130,000 out of his pocket while asserting Trump never had sex with the porn actress.

Previously, Cohen has said neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Daniels and he was not reimbursed for the payment.

Daniels is not the only woman accusing Trump. Former Playboy model Karen McDougal told Cooper in a CNN interview broadcast on Thursday that her affair with Trump began at a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2006.

McDougal has filed suit in Los Angeles seeking to invalidate a confidentiality agreement with American Media Inc., the company that owns the supermarket tabloid National Enquirer. It paid her $150,000 during the 2016 presidential election for the rights to her story. It never ran.

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