LAS VEGAS, NV - FEBRUARY 04: Adult film actress/director Stormy Daniels hosts a Super Bowl party at Sapphire Las Vegas Gentlemen's Club on February 4, 2018...
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Trump lawyer tries to silence porn star Stormy Daniels

Stormy Daniels, the adult-film star who allegedly had a sexual relationship with Donald Trump and received $130,000 not to talk about it before the 2016 election, filed a lawsuit this week. The basis for the case is pretty straightforward: Daniels wants to talk about the alleged affair and is trying to break the “hush agreement” that seems to require her silence.

What we didn’t know until late yesterday was that Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal attorney who facilitated the pre-election porn-star payment, has also taken some fresh legal steps of his own.

President Donald Trump’s lawyer is trying to silence adult-film star Stormy Daniels, obtaining a secret restraining order in a private arbitration proceeding and warning that she will face penalties if she publicly discusses a relationship with the president, NBC News has learned.

As NBC News’ report explained, Cohen obtained a temporary restraining order against Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, from a private arbitrator. The order “bars her from disclosing ‘confidential information’ related to the nondisclosure agreement signed in October 2016, just two weeks before Election Day.

Why Cohen didn’t go to a court, with public proceedings, is unclear.

Meanwhile, for the first time, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders yesterday addressed the scandal, insisting that Trump denies the adulterous relationship, and adding, “I’ve had conversations with the president about this, and as I outlined earlier, that this case has already been won in arbitration.”

It’s not altogether clear what case the president’s spokesperson was referring to – getting a temporary restraining order isn’t the same thing as “winning” a case – and Daniels’ attorney suggested Sanders’ claim is false.

What’s more, the White House press secretary was less than categorical in response to questions about whether Trump knew about the apparent hush money, with the Washington Post characterizing Sanders’ posture as “suspiciously coy.”

Congressional Republicans, meanwhile, appear desperate to avoid talking about the controversy, though Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), who has an awkward past on matters related to infidelity, conceded that the Daniels matter is “a big deal.”

The South Carolina Republican added, “If the shoe were on the other foot and there was a Democratic presidential candidate who had done the same, Republicans would probably be holding hearings right now.”

Would anyone seriously disagree with this? If, one year into Barack Obama’s presidency, there was credible evidence his lawyer paid $130,000 in hush money to a porn star, possibly in violation of federal election laws, is there any doubt that congressional Republicans would be demanding answers about the transaction?

Donald Trump, Mark Sanford and Scandals

Trump lawyer tries to silence porn star Stormy Daniels