White House denies Trump had affair with adult-film actress

The White House on Wednesday denied that President TrumpDonald TrumpMedia giants side with Bannon on request to release Jan. 6 documents Cheney warns of consequences for Trump in dealings with Jan. 6 committee Jan. 6 panel recommends contempt charges for Trump DOJ official MORE had an affair with adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, who is aggressively pursuing legal avenues to free herself from a contract that prohibits her from talking about their alleged relationship.

“The president has addressed these directly and made very well clear that none of these allegations are true,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said during a White House briefing. “It has already been won in arbitration.”

Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen has acknowledged paying Daniels — whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford — $130,000 to not discuss her claims of an affair with Trump.

The White House on Wednesday pointed to an arbitration hearing that took place in a Los Angeles court in late February. Sanders said that Trump's lawyer won the arbitration and that the judge ruled the nondisclosure agreement with Daniels to be binding.



But Daniels's lawyers filed a grievance in court this week claiming that Cohen had “surreptitiously initiated a bogus arbitration proceeding” against her without providing the notice of the proceeding or “basic due process.”

Daniels does not dispute that she signed a nondisclosure agreement and accepted the money from Trump’s lawyer.

But her lawyers say that Cohen nullified the terms of their agreement by acknowledging publicly that he had paid her to keep quiet. 

They also say that Trump never signed the contract and that since he’s party to the agreement, it is not binding. 

“Mr. Trump purposely did not sign the agreement so he could later, if need be, publicly disavow knowledge,” Daniels’s lawyers said in a new court filing this week. 

Daniels claims that she had a sexual encounter with Trump at Lake Tahoe in 2006 — while he was married to now-first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpBidens to attend Kennedy Center Honors following Trumps' absence The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden's message on the 'omicron' variant Jill Biden unveils traditional White House holiday décor MORE — and that they continued to see one another into 2007, including at a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

Daniels also says that Cohen reached out to her with the “hush agreement,” setting up a group called Essential Consultants in October 2016 to facilitate the payment.

Sanders said Wednesday that she does not believe the president knew about the payment. She referred all other questions to Cohen and said she did not know the last time the president spoke to his personal lawyer.

Cohen has said the president did not know about the payment and that neither the president nor the campaign reimbursed him for it.

“In a private transaction in 2016, I used my own personal funds to facilitate a payment of 130k to Stephanie Clifford,” he said in a statement last month. “Neither the Trump organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly.”

Daniels's lawyers say New York law would require Trump be kept in the loop if his lawyer made a payment on his behalf.

“The extent of Mr. Trump’s involvement in these efforts is presently unknown, but it strains credulity to conclude that Mr. Cohen is acting on his own accord without the express approval and knowledge of his client Mr. Trump,” her lawyers said in a filing this week.

Some election watchdogs say the payment may run afoul of election laws if the payment was made so as not to damage Trump’s presidential ambitions. 

Conservative lawyers say that as a public person, there are scores of reasons why the president would have had to protect his reputation that go well beyond the campaign.