As a grand jury hears testimony in Donald Trump’s hush money scandal, the expectation was that yesterday’s most notable witness would be Michael Cohen. Those expectations were sensible: Cohen was Trump’s “fixer” who took the lead in orchestrating the infamous payment to Stormy Daniels, and yesterday was the lawyer’s final appearance before the grand jury.
But as it turns out, another figure returned to the fore unexpectedly. The Associated Press reported:
Porn actor Stormy Daniels met Wednesday with prosecutors who are investigating hush money paid to her on former President Donald Trump’s behalf, her lawyer said Wednesday. ... Daniels met with and answered questions from Manhattan prosecutors and is willing to be a witness, her attorney, Clark Brewster, tweeted. The adult film actor tweeted her thanks to him for “helping me in our continuing fight for truth and justice.”
Brewster added on Twitter that his client “responded to questions and has agreed to make herself available as a witness.”
This appears to have rattled the former president a bit. He published this missive shortly before midnight on his social media platform:
“I did NOTHING wrong in the ‘Horseface’ case. I see she showed up in New York today trying to drum up some publicity for herself. I haven’t seen or spoken to her since I took a picture with her on a golf course, in full golf gear including a hat, close to 18 years ago. She knows nothing about me other than her conman lawyer, Avanatti, and convicted liar and felon, jailbird Michael Cohen, may have schemed up. Never had an affair with her, just another false acquisition by a SleazeBag. Witch Hunt!”
There was all kinds of nonsense packed into this statement, but of particular interest was the Republican’s suggestion that the porn star “showed up in New York” in order to “drum up some publicity for herself.”
That didn’t make any sense. For one thing, Daniels wasn’t in New York: NBC News confirmed that she was in Florida and the meeting with the Manhattan district attorney’s office was held online. For another, this was not a publicity stunt: Daniels’ lawyer confirmed that the meeting was “at the request of the Manhattan DA’s office.”
The same statement from Trump referred to Michael Avenatti as Daniels’ “conman lawyer.” While it’s true that Avenatti’s legal troubles are significant — he’s currently serving a prison sentence — it’s also true that Daniels hired new counsel four years ago this week.
Shortly after midnight, Trump published yet another message, adding, “THE FAKE INVESTIGATIONS BY RADICAL LEFT DEMOCRAT PROSECUTORS ARE NOTHING OTHER THAN ELECTION INTERFERENCE INTO THE POLITICS OF A FAILING NATION. MAGA!!!”
I wonder if that’s a message the former president is prepared to take to a jury.