Nearly a year after President Donald Trump's lawyer made a $130,000 payment to former adult film star Stormy Daniels, allegedly to force Daniels to keep quiet about an extra-marital affair she'd had with the then-candidate, a bank marked the transaction as suspicious.
A new report from The Wall Street Journal suggests that the sudden renewed interest in the Stormy Daniels payment may have been triggered by a subpoena from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is looking into how the Daniels affair connects to the Trump campaign as a whole.
According to the WSJ, lawyer Michael Cohen made the $130,000 payment ahead of the presidential election, but at the time, the bank, City National, seemed to think nothing of the transaction. Suddenly and without warning the bank changed its mind.
The issue may not be Stormy Daniels, however; after all, even if Cohen was eventually reimbursed for the payout by Trump himself, it would be a violation of campaign finance laws, not evidence of the international cooperation Mueller is currently investigating. Cohen was involved in other aspects of the Trump operation, though, and was one of several Trump associates to negotiate directly with the Russians to open a new Trump Tower in Moscow — negotiations that reportedly took place while the campaign was already up and running in 2015.
Robert Mueller probably doesn't want to know the sordid details of Stormy Daniels' love life, but it may connect to how Trump's corporate partners dealt with Russia before and during the presidential campaign, and whether Trump's business dealings connected in some way to his political aspirations.
Since Cohen also won't specifically mention who repaid him for his alleged hush money payout to Daniels, Mueller may want to know if that was a "perk" provided by the Trump organization's corporate partners.