In her much-anticipated 60 Minutes interview Sunday night, adult actress Stormy Daniels spoke frankly with Anderson Cooper about her alleged affair with Donald Trump. It was the exact opposite of her frustrating appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, in which Daniels danced around the terms of the 2016 nondisclosure agreement she signed, but for people who read her 2011 In Touch interview, there wasn’t a lot of new information. Daniels confirmed details previously reported elsewhere—if you wanted a clearer mental picture of Donald Trump getting spanked, it’s your lucky day—but there weren’t any presidency-ending bombshells, at least not by the standards that govern the Trump administration. There was one new allegation, however. Daniels says that around the time her In Touch interview was supposed to be published in 2011, someone approached her in a parking lot and threatened her on behalf of Trump:
Besides the dime-store Richard Widmark dialogue, the notable thing here is that Daniels told Anderson Cooper she could identify the man who threatened her and her daughter if she saw him again. Here’s hoping she’s flipping through an enormous mugshot book of Las Vegas-based hoods with ties to Donald Trump right now. It’s not the first time someone accused Trump of sending gangster-movie threats: As BuzzFeed reported, bankruptcy lawyer Kristopher Hansen told police in 2009 that someone called him to deliver the following charming message, presumably while chewing on a toothpick and idly tossing a silver dollar :
My name is Carmine. I don’t know why you’re fucking with Mr. Trump but if you keep fucking with Mr. Trump, we know where you live and we’re going to your house for your wife and kids.
As police discovered, the call came from a pay phone outside the Ed Sullivan Theater on a day Trump was appearing on The Late Show With David Letterman. Beyond new allegations of Trump and his associates acting like Dick Tracy villains, Daniels’ interview was mostly an opportunity for the television audience to cringe in horror as she recalled the sitting president calling her “Honeybunch” and comparing her to Ivanka:
Daniels also spoke about her decision to sign the NDA offered to her by Trump attorney Michael Cohen in 2016, saying that she feared for her and her family’s safety if the story of her affair got out. As a result, Daniels says, she took less money from Cohen to ensure her silence than others were offering for her story:
But Daniels didn’t only act out of fear, as she went on to explain, telling Cooper she signed the NDA not only because it seemed to offer her safe harbor from Trump, but because she thought it was the right thing to do. In light of everything that’s happened since October 2016, however, she did express some regrets at not having taken the payday:
I believe, without a shadow of a doubt, in my heart—and some people argue that I don’t have one of those, but whatever—that I was doing the right thing. I turned down a large payday multiple times because one, I didn’t want to kiss and tell and be labeled all the things that I’m being labeled now. I didn’t want to take away from the legitimate—and legal, I’d like to point out—career, that I’ve worked very hard to establish. And most importantly, I did not want my family and my child exposed to all the things that she’s being exposed to right now. Because everything that I was afraid of coming out has come out anyway, and guess what? I don’t have a million dollars. You didn’t even buy me breakfast.
Daniels was also very insistent that she not be painted as a victim, emphasizing that although she didn’t want to have sex with Trump (and didn’t find him attractive), their relationship was consensual.
This is not a “Me Too.” I was not a victim. I’ve never said I was a victim. I think trying to use me to, to further someone else’s agenda does horrible damage to people who are true victims.
The actress left the rhetorical fire to her lawyer Michael Avenatti, who called Michael Cohen’s claim that he paid Stormy Daniels on his own behalf “nonsense” and decried “thuggish behavior from people in power.”
Watch that space tomorrow.
Update, March 25, 2018: Trump’s lawyer also has a lawyer! Brent H. Blakely sent Michael Avenatti a letter almost immediately after 60 Minutes aired, denying Cohen had anything to do with the goon who allegedly threatened Daniels, questioning whether the incident even happened and demanding Avenatti and Cohen “retract and apologize to Mr. Cohen through the national media.” New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman tweeted a copy of a letter: