Stormy Waters Ahead

By: Yasmin Ahuja

What is going on with the president? Who even is Stormy Daniels? What is happening to Trump’s lawyer? All of these questions are valid: what is going on with Donald Trump and his prior actions are mind boggling. Here is a summary: in 2006, before Trump even knew he wanted to be in an office position, him and Stormy Daniels met and had an affair at a charity golf tournament in Nevada. Afterwards, she said she was threatened by a random man in a car park to “leave Trump alone,” which is bizarre in itself.

One of my primary questions when this story came out was why was it coming out now? Well, rumors of the affair arose before the election in 2016, and then in January, the Wall Street Journal published an article stating that Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, made a $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels a month before the election: a “hush agreement.” At first he denied these accusations, but then in February, he admitted to making them; however, Trump claimed to not know about them. Then, on May 3rd, Donald Trump announced that Mr. Cohen had paid off the porn star, was reimbursed, and that it was his own money. So now I’m asking, what even was the point of what Michael Cohen said about Trump not knowing? Especially if Trump was going to admit later that he did know, and that the payment came from his pocket.

You might be thinking: why does this matter? Well, Trump’s payment to Daniels could be seen as an illegal contribution to President Trump’s campaign. Also, the extreme actions that the president and his lawyer took in order to scare off, silence, threaten, and overall oppress this woman are startling. What boggles me even more is how his supporters are reacting. So far, Trump’s followers have ignored all of his previous behavior and every accusation a woman has made against him, but hopefully, this story will end differently.

My last question is what is happening now? All of this news slowly came out a couple months and weeks ago, but I didn’t know if anything was happening recently. After researching, I found out that on Tuesday May 15th, Trump’s personal financial disclosure report was due. He was required to state all liabilities that exceeded $10,000 in 2017. This included his debt to his lawyer for the grand payment Cohen made to Ms. Daniels in October of 2016. It was up in the air whether Trump would disclose that debt in addition to any others, and though it should be a simple answer, Trump was put in a difficult position. He had the chance to include the debt way earlier in the financial disclosure report on June 14, 2017, but of course, he didn’t, so if he chose to disclose it in the report last week, it would be acknowledging that he didn’t last year. In the end, Trump’s disclosure stated that he reimbursed Michael Cohen, but didn’t admit to any relation between that and Stormy Daniels. All in all, this is one sticky situation for the president. All eyes will be on him tomorrow and for a long time to see how he tries to get himself out of yet another controversial affair.