In a post on his social media platform, the conservative playground Truth Social, former Republican President Donald Trump essentially admitted to making a payment of $130,000 to adult film actress Stormy Daniels to stop her disclosing an affair they allegedly had in 2006.
Trump, often through his former attorney Michael Cohen, regularly denied he had the alleged affair and sought to suppress the allegation based on a non-disclosure agreement, though Cohen later acknowledged a payment had been made.
Despite this, Trump has continued to claim Daniels is lying even as the payment even as it raised legal and ethical questions as to whether it violated federal campaign finance laws, either because the payment was not duly disclosed as a campaign contribution or because campaign funds may have been used towards the payment.
Trump's remarks came as the Manhattan district attorney’s office began presenting evidence to a grand jury about his role in paying hush money to Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign.
He wrote, referencing Daniels and Cohen:
"With respect to the 'Stormy' nonsense, it was VERY OLD [and] happened a long time ago, long past the very publicly known [and] accepted deadline of the Statute of Limitations."
"I placed full Reliance on the JUDGEMENT [sic] [and] ADVICE OF COUNCIL [sic], who I had every reason to believe had a license to practice law, was competent, and was able to appropriately provide solid legal advice."
"He came from a good law firm, represented other clients over the years, [and] there was NO reason not to rely on him, and I did."
Daniels later responded and thanked Trump "for just admitting that [she] was telling the truth about EVERYTHING."
She added, referring to one of his many insults for her:
"I'll take my 'horse face' back to bed now, Mr. former 'president.' [By the way], that's the correct way to use quotation marks."
You can see Trump's original post and Daniels' response below.
Many applauded Daniels' response.
Prosecutors are in the process of contacting members of Trump's 2016 presidential campaign as well as witnesses who can corroborate Trump's payment to Daniels.
The New York Timesnoted that a conviction "is not a sure thing, in part because a case could hinge on showing that Mr. Trump and his company falsified records to hide the payout from voters days before the 2016 election, a low-level felony charge that would be based on a largely untested legal theory."
Cohen, Trump's former attorney and personal fixer, pleaded guilty in 2018 to eight criminal counts—five charges of felony tax evasion, two counts of campaign finance violations, and one count of bank fraud—in a deal struck with federal prosecutors for his role in the scheme.