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

7 hours ago - World

China-Iran deal envisions massive investments from Beijing

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

China and Iran have negotiated a deal that would see massive investments flow into Iran, oil flow out, and collaboration increase on defense and intelligence.

Why it matters: If the proposals become reality, Chinese cash, telecom infrastructure, railways and ports could offer new life to Iran’s sanctions-choked economy — or, critics fear, leave it inescapably beholden to Beijing.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 13,048,249 — Total deaths: 571,685 — Total recoveries — 7,215,865Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 3,353,348— Total deaths: 135,524 — Total recoveries: 1,031,856 — Total tested: 40,282,176Map.
  3. World: WHO head: There will be no return to the "old normal" for foreseeable future — Hong Kong Disneyland closing due to surge.
  4. States: Houston mayor calls for two-week shutdownCalifornia orders sweeping rollback of open businesses — Cuomo says New York will use formula to determine if reopening schools is safe.
  5. Education: Los Angeles schools' move to online learning could be a nationwide tipping point.

House Judiciary Committee releases transcript of Geoffrey Berman testimony

Geoffrey Berman. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The House Judiciary Committee on Monday released the transcript of its closed-door interview with Geoffrey Berman, the former top federal prosecutor in Manhattan who was forced out by Attorney General Bill Barr last month.

Why it matters: House Democrats have seized on Berman's testimony, in which he claimed the attorney general sought to "entice" him into resigning so that he could be replaced by SEC chairman Jay Clayton, to bolster allegations that the Justice Department has been politicized under Barr.