Give Donald Trump points for consistency.
He has yet to weigh in on the specific details of the allegations of extramarital affairs, but there’s no denying that the allegations from Stephanie Clifford, aka porn star Stormy Daniels, and Karen McDougal, the former Playboy Playmate, bear striking similarities.
Daniels told her story to Anderson Cooper in an interview that aired on “60 Minutes” Sunday and McDougal told her story to Cooper on his CNN show AC360 last week. What’s below, which makes it very hard to believe either woman is just making this stuff up, is taken from their Cooper interviews and also the details that emerged previously – in the New Yorker, which published parts of McDougal’s journal in February, and In Touch magazine, which published Daniels’ 2011 interview in January.
Both women sold (or tried to sell) their stories
Daniels: First in 2011, Daniels tried to sell details of her affair to a sister publication of In Touch magazine for $15,000, although she told CBS she was never paid the money. CBS reported employees of In Touch told them that Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen threatened to sue the magazine to stop publication. Daniels says she was threatened in a parking lot to keep quiet. The interview didn’t publish until January, one year after Trump became President. Years after she tried to sell the story but just before Election Day 2016, Daniels entered into a $130,000 agreement with Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen to keep quiet. She’s now trying to get out of that agreement and tempted a $1 million penalty by talking to 60 Minutes.
McDougal: Leading up to Election Day in 2016, sold her story for $150,000 to the parent company of the National Enquirer, which promptly killed it. Friends later shared it with the New Yorker and McDougal broke her silence in an interview March 22 with Cooper on CNN’s AC360.
A corporate spokesman for American Media Inc. provided a statement to CNN after McDougal filed her lawsuit saying she “has been free to respond to press inquiries about her relationship with President Trump since 2016” and that the company had not “silenced” her. McDougal says in the suit, however, she has been threatened with “financial ruin.”
(We have also included some allegations of Summer Zervos, who has accused Trump of sexual harassment and sued him for defamation. She outlined them at a pre-election press conference. We’ve included them here because they happened within a year of the alleged affairs and the specifics of what Zervos alleges bear similarities to some of what Daniels and McDougal have said.)
The affairs happened at roughly the same time
McDougal carried on with Trump and was with him dozens of times, she said, between meeting him at the Playboy mansion in June of 2006 and ending things in April of 2007.
Daniels described her one tryst with Trump in Lake Tahoe in July of 2006 and her subsequent encounter at the Beverly Hills Hotel was the last time she said she saw Trump.
(The harassment allegation by Summer Zervos was alleged to have occurred in 2007.)
They were both with Trump in Lake Tahoe in 2006
Daniels told 60 Minutes she was introduced to Trump at the July 2006 golf tournament and she went to his hotel suite there. That’s when she said they had sex, after she spanked him with a magazine featuring his face on the cover.
McDougal said she was with Trump at the same event and doesn’t know how he could also have been with Daniels there, although she said he mentioned porn stars to her at the time.
McDougal to Cooper on AC360: “My first thought is how could she have been with him when I was with him? The only time we weren’t together on that particular trip was when I – he was on the golf course golfing. I didn’t go, clearly, but I went to every event, every after thing, parties, daytime things, I was there. That’s why I can’t understand.
“Now, I do remember him saying, he came in one day and said, oh, there are a bunch of porn stars out there. They were wanting pictures of me. And I’m like, oh, that’s funny, you know, that’s cute, whatever. I do remember him saying that, but I can’t imagine when he found the time except for maybe the day I left.”
They both reminded Trump of his daughter
Daniels to Cooper on 60 Minutes: “Yeah. He was like, ‘Wow, you– you are special. You remind me of my daughter.’ You know– he was like, ‘You’re smart and beautiful, and a woman to be reckoned with, and I like you. I like you.’”
McDougal to Cooper on AC360: “You know, he, he’s very proud of Ivanka, as he should be. I mean, she’s a brilliant woman. She’s beautiful. She’s – you know, that’s his daughter, and he should be proud of her. He said I was beautiful like her and, you know, ‘you’re a smart girl.’ And there wasn’t a lot of comparing, but there was some, yes. I heard a lot about her. Yes.”
They said similar things about Trump and Melania
McDougal to Cooper on AC360:
COOPER: What did he say? Did he reference Melania at that point?
MCDOUGAL: He did. We passed a room, and he said it’s Melania’s room. She likes to have her alone time or to get her way to read or something like that. I’m like, oh, OK. That’s when I kind of thought, maybe they’re having issues.
Daniels to Cooper on 60 Minutes:
COOPER: Melania Trump had recently given birth to– to a son, just a few months before. Did that – did he mention his wife or child at all in this?
DANIELS: I asked. And he brushed it aside, said, ‘Oh yeah, yeah, you know, don’t worry about that. We don’t even– we have separate rooms and stuff.’
They both posed for photos with Trump
Daniels appears next to Trump alone during the Lake Tahoe tournament weekend. McDougal appears in a Playboy Bunny costume nearby Trump, his wife and daughter in a photo she said was taken at the Playboy Mansion.
They both spent time with Trump at a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel
McDougal to Trump on AC360:
MCDOUGAL: Our first date, I was told we were going to go to the Beverly Hills Hotel for dinner. So, he had told me that Keith, his bodyguard, was going to pick me up at a certain time and he did. And then we were driving over to the Beverly Hills Hotel. And Keith drove around to the back and he said, we have to get out here, because we don’t want to walk to the hotel. And at that minute, I’m like thinking to myself, are we going to a room because I thought we were having dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
COOPER: In the actual restaurant?
MCDOUGAL: Right. Well, we did have dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel but in his bungalow instead. We had dinner there for a few hours. We talked for a few hours. We had a great time, we’re getting to know each other. We’re talking about his birthday, and then as the night ended, we were intimate.
Daniels to In Touch magazine in 2011:
DANIELS: Then the next time I saw him was the end of July and he called me and asked if I could come meet him at the Beverly Hills Hotel. And I went. My boyfriend drove me. Keith came out and met me at my truck and walked me in. He had a private bungalow out back, which is cool because I’d never been there and I haven’t been there since. They have these, like, individual cottages there. Cool. They’re pretty nice.
She told both In Touch in 2011 and 60 Minutes that Trump tried to initiate sex with her in the bungalow, but she wouldn’t do it. She had gone to the hotel to discuss a possible appearance on Trump’s TV show.
That’s the same thing Summer Zervos, a former Apprentice contestant says in her allegation of sexual misconduct against Trump – that she met him at the Beverly Hills Hotel to talk about job prospects. The difference is that Zervos characterizes Trump’s advances at the hotel as sexual harassment. He’s denied her accusation. She’s suing him for defamation.
Zervos describing 2007 encounter at October 2016 press conference:
ZERVOS: He then called again, days later, to let me know he was coming to Los Angeles. He again called me after he had just landed in Los Angeles. He asked me to meet him that evening at the Beverly Hills Hotel and asked me where I would like to have dinner. When I arrived, his security guard greeted me at the hotel. He walked with me to greet Mr. Trump. I assumed we were going to a restaurant in the hotel. Instead, I was taken to a bungalow. The security guard opened the door, and I went in.
They both had the same attorney, who they both said pressured them
It was the attorney Keith Davidson who brokered with the National Enquirer parent company for McDougal and with Trump attorney Michael Cohen for Daniels. Both have since parted ways with Davidson and a suit McDougal filed in March alleges he may have been working with AMI.
Davidson to CNN on Daniels’ 60 Minutes appearance: “I do not believe that the assertions in Ms. Daniels’ 60 Minutes interview represent a fair and accurate description of the situation.”
Davidson’s letter (as printed in The Washington Post) to McDougal’s current attorney about her lawsuit: “…the complaint and various media appearances portray an incomplete and misleading depiction of the facts, circumstances and communications related to my prior representation of Karen.”
The six-figure payoffs happened within months of each other
Daniels was paid $130,000 by Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen to keep quiet (despite that 2011 interview with In Touch that hadn’t yet run), on October 26, 2016, according to emails from that day confirming the transfer that CNN published.
McDougal entered into her agreement with AMI, the National Enquirer parent company, in early August of 2016, according to The Wall Street Journal, which reported on its existence just before Election Day 2016. The New Yorker reported McDougal was promised a lifestyle column as part of the agreement, but that never came to pass.
Both women have now defied their agreements by talking to the media. Daniels’ attorney says her agreement was violated by Cohen and never fully enacted because Trump didn’t sign it.
Another similarity is that the White House has denied Trump’s involvement with either woman and Trump, similarly, has remained silent on them.