Shortly after Stormy Daniels’ appearance on 60 Minutes Sunday night, Michael Cohen — Donald Trump’s longtime attorney and fixer — released a letter through his lawyer demanding the adult film star retract and apologize for her statements.
The letter focuses on the claim that Cohen “was responsible for an alleged thug who supposedly visited [Daniels], while she was with her daughter, and made an alleged threat” against her.
Cohen’s lawyer fired back almost immediately after the Daniels interview with this letter saying allegation of goon threatening her was false >> pic.twitter.com/TWH2djrFPq
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) March 26, 2018
The letter demands that Daniels “immediately retract and apologize through national media” for making such a claim and “make clear [she has] no facts or evidence whatsoever that my client had anything whatsoever to do with this alleged thug.”
There’s one problem with the letter: Daniels never made such a claim.
In the interview that aired Sunday, Daniels — whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford — said she was approached by a man in a Las Vegas parking lot who warned her to stop talking about Donald Trump and threatened her life.
The alleged incident occurred in 2011, shortly after Daniels gave an interview to Life & Style magazine about her affair with Trump. The magazine ultimately did not run the story after receiving a legal threat from Cohen.
But Daniels did not not suggest that the man who threatened her was sent by Michael Cohen. According to the transcript of Daniels’ discussion of the incident during the show:
Stormy Daniels: I was in a parking lot, going to a fitness class with my infant daughter. T– taking, you know, the seats facing backwards in the backseat, diaper bag, you know, gettin’ all the stuff out. And a guy walked up on me and said to me, “Leave Trump alone. Forget the story.” And then he leaned around and looked at my daughter and said, “That’s a beautiful little girl. It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom.” And then he was gone.
Anderson Cooper: You took it as a direct threat?
Stormy Daniels: Absolutely.
Stormy Daniels: I was rattled. I remember going into the workout class. And my hands are shaking so much, I was afraid I was gonna– drop her.
Anderson Cooper: Did you ever see that person again?
Stormy Daniels: No. But I– if I did, I would know it right away.
Anderson Cooper: You’d be able to– you’d be able to recognize that person?
Stormy Daniels: 100%. Even now, all these years later. If he walked in this door right now, I would instantly know.
Anderson Cooper: Did you go to the police?
Stormy Daniels: No.
Anderson Cooper: Why?
Stormy Daniels: Because I was scared.
Note that there is no mention of Cohen, much less a claim that he was involved.
It’s unclear when the letter was written, but Trump reportedly had dinner with Cohen on Saturday night.
NEWS – Trump had dinner with Michael Cohen last night. Night before the Stormy Daniels interview.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) March 25, 2018
Oddly, Cohen’s letter also expresses his belief that the 2011 incident never occurred. It’s unclear why Cohen would know, since he professes to have had nothing to do with it.
There are, however, other documented instances of Cohen threatening people who speak out about Trump.
When Tim Mak of the Daily Beast was reporting an article about Ivana Trump, who once wrote in a book that she was raped by Trump, Cohen’s threat was not subtle:
“I will make sure that you and I meet one day while we’re in the courthouse. And I will take you for every penny you still don’t have. And I will come after your Daily Beast and everybody else that you possibly know,” Cohen said. “So I’m warning you, tread very fucking lightly, because what I’m going to do to you is going to be fucking disgusting. You understand me?”
Megyn Kelly, who previously worked at Fox News and now works at NBC News, recounted in her book being threatened by Cohen. After Kelly asked Trump a pointed question at a presidential debate, Cohen retweeted a message encouraging Trump supporters to “gut her.”
— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) March 26, 2018
While Daniels did not name Cohen as the source of the threat during her Sunday appearance, her attorney, Michael Avenatti, was less circumspect. Appearing on CNN on Monday morning, Avenatti said he had “no doubt” that Cohen or someone else close to Trump was responsible for the 2011 threat against Daniels.