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Michael Cohen (center), Trump's longtime lawyer. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images.

President Trump's longtime lawyer Michael Cohen has been protecting him from scandal for years, according to a New York Times review of records, emails and interviews.

How he does it: "[T]he lawyer relied on intimidation tactics, hush money and the nation’s leading tabloid news business, American Media Inc., whose top executives include close Trump allies. ... [He] maneuvered in the pay-to-play gossip world — populated by porn stars and centerfold models, tabloid editors and lawyers with B- and C-list entertainment clients."

The scandals he's helped shield the president from include allegations that Trump paid porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet about their alleged affair; former Playboy model Karen McDougal's allegations that she and Trump had an affair; allegations from multiple women during the 2016 election that Trump had sexually harassed them; and a former hedge-fund manager who in 2015 said he had a photo of Trump autographing a woman's bare breasts.

Why it matters: No other president in modern history has faced as many controversial allegations involving porn stars and Playboy models as Trump. Although the stories almost always come out, Cohen has consistently managed to control the damage and Trump isn't affected by them much.

Go deeper with the full NYT story.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Kellyanne Conway's parting power pointers

Kellyanne Conway addresses the 2020 Republican National Convention. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Kellyanne Conway has seen power exercised as a pollster, campaign manager and senior counselor to President Trump. Now that his term in office has concluded, she shared her thoughts with Axios.

Why it matters: If there's a currency in this town, it's power, so we've asked several former Washington power brokers to share their best advice as a new administration and new Congress settle in.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP holdouts press on with plans to crush Cheney

Screenshot of emails to a member of Congress from individuals who signed an Americans for Limited Government petition against Rep. Liz Cheney. Photo obtained by Axios

Pro-Trump holdouts in the House are forging ahead with an uphill campaign to oust Rep. Liz Cheney as head of the chamber's Republican caucus even though Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told them to back down.

Why it matters: What happens next will be a test of McCarthy's party control and the sincerity of his opposition to the movement. Cheney (R-Wyo.) is seen as a potential leadership rival to the California Republican.

Democrats aim to punish House GOP for Capitol riot

Speaker Nancy Pelosi passes through a newly installed metal detector at the House floor entrance Thursday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Democrats plan to take advantage of corporate efforts to cut funding for Republicans who opposed certifying the 2020 election results, with a plan to target vulnerable members in the pivotal 2022 midterms for their role in the Jan. 6 violence.

Why it matters: It's unclear whether the Democrats' strategy will manifest itself in ads or earned media in the targeted races or just be a stunt to raise money for themselves. But the Capitol violence will be central to the party's messaging as it seeks to maintain its narrow majorities in Congress.