The Manhattan district attorney’s office has ordered the Trump Organization to hand over documents related to the “hush money” convicted felon and former Trump “fixer” Michael Cohen gave porn star Stormy Daniels in October 2016.
In a pair of subpoenas this week, Manhattan prosecutors are seeking more information about two infamous alleged deals intended to keep potentially problematic claims from alleged past Trump paramours under wraps.
The most famous deal involved a $130,000 check from Cohen to Daniels (Stephanie Clifford) for her signature on a non-disclosure agreement allegedly intended to keep Daniels from going public with her claims about a one-night stand with Trump back in 2006 — an encounter which he has repeatedly denied and she has since discussed in intimate detail publicly.
Cohen, who headed off to prison in May, said in his August 2018 guilty plea that he gave Daniels the “hush money” on Trump’s behalf in the final month of the 2016 election in knowing violation of campaign finance law. The exchange is one of the actions Trump critics have hoped would eventually topple the president. During a congressional hearing in February, Cohen presented $35,000 checks signed by Trump and Trump Organization officials, Donald Trump Jr. and Trump Organization COO Allen Weisselberg that he says were part of the reimbursement for his payment to Daniels:
The Trump Organization accounted for those checks as simply “legal expenses,” but, the The Wall Street Journal notes, prosecutors say they had no retainer agreement with Cohen and the reimbursement was “not in connection with any legal services he had provided.”
“The district attorney probe could investigate the way the Trump Organization accounted for the reimbursement it paid to Mr. Cohen for the payment he made to Ms. Clifford,” the Journal suggests, noting: “Falsifying business records is illegal under state law.”
The Manhattan DA aslo subpoenaed American Media Inc., which publishes the Enquirer and allegedly played a role in keeping Playboy model Karen McDougal quiet about her alleged affair with Trump.
In a statement reported by the Journal, Trump Organization attorney Marc Mukasey dismissed the investigation as a “political hit job” that’s nothing more than “harassment” of Trump and those connected to him. “It’s just harassment of the president, his family, and his business, using subpoenas and leaks as weapons,” said Mukasey. “We will respond as appropriate.”
The DA’s investigation is not the only one the Trump Organization faces; House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) recently asked for evidence the Manhattan office gathered during their investigation. According to The New York Times‘ sources, this action was one of the reasons Trump unloaded on Cummings over the weekend.
“Elijah Cummings spends all of his time trying to hurt innocent people through ‘Oversight,'” Trump tweeted this week. “He does NOTHING for his very poor, very dangerous and very badly run district! So sad that Elijah Cummings has been able to do so little for the people of Baltimore. Statistically, Baltimore ranks last in almost every major category. Cummings has done nothing but milk Baltimore dry, but the public is getting wise to the bad job that he is doing!”