The payments were made as per the last year’s presidential election amid signs that Donald Trump supporters, lawyers and consultants might have been involved in such payments. Records reveal that President Trump himself had authorized the payment to “Stormy Daniels” – an adult film actress whose real name is Stephanie Clifford – and another model Karen McDougal. The payment to Daniels was made by Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney, to silence her from revealing an alleged affair with Trump. Moreover, the National Enquirer, an American tabloid magazine, made the payment to Karen McDougal in return for exclusive rights to her story.
Recently, Cohen has already confessed to violating campaign finance laws by paying the two women to stop them from leaking allegedly damaging information about Trump. He has also pleaded guilty to other crimes related to financial dealings and lying to Congress. Following Cohen’s confession, federal prosecutors have said that at least one executive in the parent company of the National Enquirer ought to be fully investigated for their involvement in the “catch and kill” scheme of suppressing stories embarrassing for Trump in the run-up to 2016 presidential elections.
Further investigations reveal that Cohen was reimbursed for the payment that he made to Daniels by the Trump Organization, which could strengthen the argument that the payment was indeed made with the intention of influencing the election. President Trump has denied any wrongdoing and repeated his allegations of being harassed by the special counsel that is investigating any correlations between his campaign and Moscow in the 2016 election. Trump has branded his former lawyer Michael Cohen a “rat”, stating that he had personally never discussed any payment to Clifford.
The potential charges in the case include violations of campaign-finance laws and alleged financial crimes, which are to be presented to senior officials in the justice department for approval in the coming weeks. According to analysts, if Trump is proven to have participated in the crimes related to the payment, it could lead to his impeachment by the democratic-dominated House of Representatives. Meanwhile, members of congress are planning to investigate if the payments were indeed made to other women on Trump’s behalf, possibly opening up an entirely new front of Trump’s troubles.