Stormy Daniels, an adult film actress who says she had an affair with Donald Trump in 2006, alleged in an interview with 60 Minutes that aired Sunday that she was physically threatened to stop talking about Trump.
The threat, Daniels said, occurred in 2011, shortly after Trump’s longtime attorney and “fixer,” Michael Cohen, called In Touch Magazine and threatened to sue if the outlet ran an interview with Daniels recounting her affair.
The details of the threat, which Daniels says was made against her while she was caring for her infant daughter in Las Vegas, open up a dangerous new chapter in the scandal for Trump.
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.
Daniels said concern about her family’s safety influenced her to later sign a non-disclosure agreement with Cohen.
During Sunday’s interview, Daniels also provided some details of her alleged romance with Trump. “Wow, you — you are special. You remind me of my daughter,” Trump told her the day they met, as Daniels recounted. Daniels said they had sex that night and, while the encounter was consensual, she was not attracted to Trump. She said they did not use a condom.
While saying little publicly in reference to Daniels, Trump is reportedly very attuned to the controversy. According the Daily Beast, at least one person on the White House staff has been tasked with monitoring developments about Daniels.
Daniels has sued Trump and Cohen, arguing that the non-disclosure agreement she signed days before the 2016 election was is invalid. Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, alleges the contract is not binding for a number of reasons, including the fact that it was never signed by Trump. Daniels accepted $130,000 after she signed the agreement, which she recently offered to return.
Avenatti recently hinted that Daniels has pictures proving her relationship with Trump, but Daniels did not reveal them during Sunday’s interview.
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) March 23, 2018
Cohen, through his shell company, Essential Consultants LLC, has attempted to enforce the non-disclosure agreement. He obtained a temporary restraining order against Daniels through an arbitrator. Avenatti argues the order hold no force because the underlying agreement is invalid — and, even if were valid, it only permits Trump, not Cohen’s shell company, to obtain a restraining order.
Cohen and Trump have removed Daniels’ original lawsuit into federal court. As part of that process Cohen, through his attorney, argues that Daniels is liable for at least $20 million due to breaches of her non-disclosure agreement. The agreement says that Daniels must pay $1,000,000 for each breach. Trump’s attorneys claim there have been at least 20 breaches thus far, without providing any details. Trump has retained Christopher Harder, an attorney closely tied to right-wing billionaire Peter Thiel, to represent him in the matter.
Avenatti has dismissed these arguments as bullying, arguing the $1 million penalty would be invalidated by a judge as unconscionable. Daniels’ appearance on 60 Minutes reflects Avenatti’s confidence in his position, as the interview likely represents her most extensive breach of the agreement to date.
Daniels isn’t the only woman speaking out about Trump this week. On Thursday, Karen McDougal detailed on CNN what she says was a 10-month affair that overlapped with Trump’s alleged tryst with Daniels. McDougal said she was in love with Trump but in 2016 was duped into signing her life rights away to a media company, A.M.I., owned by a close friend of Trump.
McDougal and Daniels, somehow, ended up being represented by the same lawyer, Keith Davidson. McDougal alleges that Davidson was secretly communicating with Cohen as she negotiated her agreement and was not representing her interests. She also argues that her agreement with A.M.I. is invalid because it was an illegal corporate contribution intended to benefit Trump’s campaign.
This is a breaking news story and has been updated with additional information.