JULY 18–In the days after the notorious “Access Hollywood” tape surfaced, Donald Trump, Hope Hicks, and Michael Cohen discussed “the need to prevent” porn star Stormy Daniels from going public with her account of an extramarital affair with the presidential candidate, according to court records unsealed this morning.
In a series of search warrant applicationstargeting Cohen, Trump’s former attorney, the FBI and federal prosecutors detail the frantic efforts to arrange a hush-money payment to Daniels (real name: Stephanie Clifford) in advance of the 2016 presidential election. Additionally, assorted Trump loyalists discussed how to justify a similar hush payment to Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model who claims to have had a months-long extramarital affair with Trump.
After The Wall Street Journal published a story about the McDougal payment days before the November 8 election, Cohen and Hicks were concerned about the story spreading to other media outlets. When that did not occur, Cohen texted Hicks, “So far I see only 6 stories. Getting little to no traction.” Hicks replied, “Same. Keep praying!! It’s working!”