Stormy Daniels, an adult film star whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is at the center of controversy after the Wall Street Journal reported that President Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, allegedly arranged a $130,000 payment a month before the 2016 election so she wouldn’t speak out about an alleged sexual encounter she had with him.
“These are old, recycled reports, which were published and strongly denied prior to the election,” a White House official told the Wall Street Journal. “President Trump once again vehemently denies any such occurrence as has Ms. Daniels,” Cohen told the newspaper, without addressing the claims of a payment made.
Cohen also provided WSJ with a statement purporting to be from Daniels stating: “Rumors that I have received hush money from Donald Trump are completely false.” Representatives for Daniels did not respond to a request for further comment, nor did Bauer Media, the publisher of InTouch, when asked why they delayed publication of the interview.
James Heidenry, InTouch’s editorial director, told The Washington Post: “I’ve only been here since November. I can’t speak to decisions that were made before then.” He added that the interview, conducted by a former staffer, “had fallen off the radar” of the magazine's current editors.
InTouch published a "lightly edited" transcript—but no recording—of their interview on Thursday. Here are some of the biggest takeaways:
Trump said he wanted to get her on television.
Daniels didn’t mention The Apprentice by name in the transcript, but she did say Trump contemplated getting her on his television show, though she doubted NBC would put an adult film star on air. “People would think you’re just this idiot with blond hair and big boobs,” she recalled him saying. “You would be perfect for it because you’re such a smart businesswoman.” Trump apparently ended up telling her he couldn’t make it happen because the idea “got vetoed,” but she said she never fully got her hopes up. Still, she said she wonders “if he was just flat-out lying the whole time” to get her to sleep with him.
She claims Trump did not use protection.
According to the transcript, Daniels said the sex was “textbook generic,” and that they did not use condoms. She also added that he asked her to sign one of her DVDs for him after sex.
Trump is apparently afraid of sharks.
Daniels said that one night at the Beverly Hills Hotel, she saw him watching Discovery Channel's " Shark Week" on television, particularly a special about a shark attack. “He is obsessed with sharks. Terrified of sharks,” Daniels told InTouch. “He was like, ‘I donate to all these charities and I would never donate to any charity that helps sharks. I hope all the sharks die.’ He was like riveted. He was like obsessed. It’s so strange, I know.” Indeed, Trump has made his feelings about sharks known before:
She said Trump compared her to his daughter.
It’s unclear whether Daniels is referring to Tiffany or Ivanka, but she did say in the interview that Trump compared her to his daughter. “He told me once that I was someone to be reckoned with, beautiful and smart just like his daughter,” she said.
She decided to come forward after hearing he was denying their relationship.
In the 2011 interview, Daniels said she was sharing her story because she heard from a friend that Trump had spoken negatively about people who work in the adult film industry, and that he had denied he ever had a relationship with her. “It was very derogatory, and that makes me more mad than anything,” she said.
She claims he never told her to keep quiet at the time.
“He didn’t seem worried about it. He was kind of arrogant,” she told InTouch. “It did occur to me, ‘That’s a really stupid move on your part.’ And it’s not like I went around and told anybody. No one ever really knew.”