Monday, March 26, 2018

it's gettin' Stormy

The CBS interview with Anderson Cooper and Stormy Daniels (a.k.a. Stephanie Clifford) has been transcripted for your delectation. If you're a liberal, you'll come away from the interview with a feeling of grim triumph, along with a sense that, maybe this time, we've got President Trump by his tiny little balls. If you're a conservative, you'll come away disappointed that the interview wasn't juicier.

I mentioned previously that Daniels, in order to be cogent and taken seriously, would need to provide more than allegations, but allegations are mostly what her story is filled with. One of the more bizarre things Daniels said was that she wasn't attracted to Trump even a bit, that she had absolutely no desire to have sex with him, but she did it anyway.

Cooper: What happened next?

Daniels: I asked him if I could use his restroom and he said, "Yes, you know, it's through those-- through the bedroom, you'll see it." So I-- I excused myself and I went to the-- the restroom. You know, I was in there for a little bit and came out and he was sitting, you know, on the edge of the bed when I walked out, perched.

Cooper: And when you saw that, what went through your mind?

Daniels: I realized exactly what I'd gotten myself into. And I was like, "Ugh, here we go." (LAUGH) And I just felt like maybe-- (LAUGH) it was sort of-- I had it coming for making a bad decision for going to someone's room alone and I just heard the voice in my head, "well, you put yourself in a bad situation and bad things happen, so you deserve this."

Cooper: And you had sex with him.

Daniels: Yes.

Cooper: You were 27, he was 60. Were you physically attracted to him?

Daniels: No.

Cooper: Not at all?

Daniels: No.

Cooper: Did you want to have sex with him?

Daniels: No. But I didn't-- I didn't say no. I'm not a victim, I'm not--

Cooper: It was entirely consensual.

Daniels: Oh, yes, yes.

I'm trying to make sense of how Daniels didn't want to have sex with Trump, but the sex was still consensual. I suppose I'm just unschooled in the illogicality of the female mind because to me, if she didn't want sex, but sex occurred, that sounds an awful lot like rape.

When Daniels says, "...well, you put yourself in a bad situation and bad things happen, so you deserve this," this sounds like a lie, like spin. I don't doubt she was a greedy whore seeking status and privilege by having sex with Trump. On some level, perhaps not the level of attraction, she likely wanted this night to happen. But that's just my conjecture; I'm psychologizing, and I normally warn people away from doing that.

More serious, though, is Daniels's assertion that she was physically threatened as a way to prevent her from talking about the one-night stand (given that the two apparently had sex only once, this is more of a one-night stand than a full-blown affair):

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.

Cooper: You took it as a direct threat?

Daniels: Absolutely. 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.

Cooper: Did you ever see that person again?

Daniels: No. But I-- if I did, I would know it right away.

Cooper: You'd be able to-- you'd be able to recognize that person?

Daniels: 100%. Even now, all these years later. If he walked in this door right now, I would instantly know.

Cooper: Did you go to the police?

Daniels: No.

Cooper: Why?

Daniels: Because I was scared.

Again, this amounts to little more than an allegation. Pretty much all of the Daniels interview is mere fluff, generally unsupported by actual evidence. The meaty stuff occurs after Anderson Cooper turns his attention to Trevor Potter:

What makes the dispute between Stormy Daniels and the president more than a high-profile tabloid scandal is that her silence was purchased eleven days before the presidential election, which may run afoul of campaign finance laws. The president's long-time lawyer Michael Cohen says he used $130,000 of his own money to pay Stormy Daniels. Cohen has said the money was not a campaign contribution. But Trevor Potter, a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission appointed by President George H.W. Bush, told us he doesn't agree.

Trevor Potter: The payment of the money just creates an enormous legal mess for I think Trump, for Cohen and anyone else who was involved in this in the campaign.

Anderson Cooper: Are you saying that can be seen as a contribution to benefit a campaign?

Trevor Potter: I am. It's a $130,000 in-kind contribution by Cohen to the Trump campaign, which is about $126,500 above what he's allowed to give. And if he does this on behalf of his client, the candidate, that is a coordinated, illegal, in-kind contribution by Cohen for the purpose of influencing the election, of benefiting the candidate by keeping this secret.

Does this spell more trouble for Trump? In some measure, perhaps, but the billionaire has a veritable army of lawyers who will do their best to keep these problems at bay. One does have to wonder, though, how Melania and the children are taking all this. A wife's patience and forgiveness aren't infinite, and Donald Trump has a randy reputation that just won't die. He might not suffer as the president, but he might end up suffering as a husband and a father.

In all, I didn't come away from this interview having learned anything more than I already knew: allegations of sex, threats, and payment had already been aired long before the interview itself. To me, the whole thing is a yawner, but I think the financial angle has the potential to turn into something.


Charles said...

I am, as you know, a liberal, and I came away with this thinking: Meh. No feeling of grim triumph here. But, as you also know, I wasn't expecting much from this.

So, in conclusion: Meh.

Kevin Kim said...

Then we agree.

King Baeksu said...

Big, if true.

Kevin Kim said...

There does seem to be something inflatable about her.