The Slatest

Michael Cohen Says He Borrowed Against His Home Equity to Pay Stormy Daniels’ Hush Money, As One Does

Michael Cohen at Trump Tower in New York City on Dec. 16, 2016.
Michael Cohen at Trump Tower in New York City on Dec. 16, 2016. Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images

The Michael Cohen/Stormy Daniels/Donald Trump story is going in about a million directions right now, but most of them are related to the specific and relatively arcane legal question of whether Daniels’ $130,000 2016 non-disclosure agreement with Cohen/Trump could be ruled invalid. It’s not arcane for her, because it could determine whether she can profit by telling the story of her alleged affair with Trump in a book or in media appearances she could parlay into a TV career. But it’s pretty arcane for the rest of us given that we already know quite a lot about the alleged affair from what she said about it in now-published interviews given before she signed the NDA.

What seems like the biggest political/legal question going forward from the average newsreader’s perspective, rather, is whether Trump, Cohen, or anyone else left evidence that the 2016 payment was made specifically in order to prevent Daniels’ potential public statements from influencing the outcome of that year’s election. If emails or notes to that effect surface—or if it turns out the payment was ultimately financed by the Trump campaign—we could (could!) be talking about felonies and prison time. But Trump could have also been motivated to suppress Daniels’ story for personal/marital reasons, and in the absence of hard evidence that his campaign became involved in the situation or that his motivations were specifically electoral it seems unlikely that any authority would attempt to make a case for prosecution.

Anyway, this was a long way of getting to the point, which is that ABC News, in the course of trying to follow the money, was just told by Cohen that he paid Daniels her $130,000 personally by borrowing against the equity he holds in his home, which is funny:

When asked where the $130,000 sent to Daniels’ attorney came from, Cohen told ABC News “the funds were taken from my home equity line and transferred internally to my LLC account in the same bank.”

That’s dedication! The question remains, though: Who paid him back? It seems like he must have gotten reimbursed, and he’s said he wasn’t paid back by the Trump Organization or the Trump campaign, but that’s all he’s said about the subject. Will we ever find out the whole story? Maybe … maybe not! Have a good weekend!