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Karen McDougal in 2005. Photo: Jon Kopaloff / FilmMagic

Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model, filed a lawsuit on Tuesday to be freed from a 2016 legal agreement that required her to stay silent about an affair she claims she had with President Trump in 2006, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters, per Axios' Jonathan Swan: We have no earthly idea how many other women are out there who have similar hush money agreements with Trump's lawyers or associates acting on his behalf. But the floodgates appear to be opening with Stormy Daniels and now this Playboy model coming out. They're setting the template for others to follow — a nightmare scenario for even this teflon president.

  • McDougal is suing American Media Inc., the owner of the National Enquirer. AMI offered to purchase her story for $150,000 and not publish it — referred to as a "catch and kill" agreement. In exchange, AMI offered her regular features in their magazines and websites, but McDougal noted that her agreement only gave AMI "the right" to publish them, rather than any sort of obligation.
  • Karen McDougal said in a statement provided to Axios: “AMI lied to me, made empty promises, and repeatedly intimidated and manipulated me. I just want the opportunity to set the record straight and move on with my life, free from this company, its executives, and its lawyers.”
  • McDougal's lawyer, Peter Stris, said in a statement: “Through efforts including the collusion of her own lawyer, AMI has consistently deceived and manipulated Ms. McDougal through an illegitimate contract. We are confident that the so-called contract will be invalidated, and are eager for Ms. McDougal to be able to move forward with her life with the privacy she deserves.”

Go deeper

Updated 33 mins ago - World

Russia announces end to massive troop buildup near Ukraine

Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (L) with President Vladimir Putin. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Russia's defense minister said Thursday that massive military exercises near the border with Ukraine had been completed, and that he had ordered troops to return to their permanent bases by May 1, according to state media.

Why it matters: Tens of thousands of troops and heavy military equipment had been moved to the border of eastern Ukraine and the annexed territory of Crimea over the last month, sparking fears of a potential Russian invasion.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
53 mins ago - Economy & Business

Private equity's other tax fight

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

Private equity is carefully watching the D.C. debate on corporate taxes, in which Senate Democrats seem to be settling on a 25% rate.

Zoom in: Marginal rates obviously matter, but for PE it's just an appetizer before the weedier work begins on issues like corporate interest deductibility.

Making sense of Biden's big emissions promise

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Biden's new U.S. emissions-cutting target is a sign of White House ambition and a number that distills the tough political and policy maneuvers needed to realize those aims.

Driving the news: This morning the White House unveiled a nonbinding goal under the Paris Agreement that calls for cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 50%-52% by 2030 relative to 2005 levels.