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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 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

CNN fires Chris Cuomo

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CNN

CNN said Saturday evening it has fired one of its star anchors, Chris Cuomo, following new revelations from a legal review made by the company into Cuomo's involvement in the management of his brother's sexual harassment scandal.

Why it matters: Saturday's firing speaks to how much pressure CNN was under by employees and critics to address Cuomo's behavior.

Updated 6 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Electric car prices could go up before they come down

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The secret to affordable electric vehicles is cheaper batteries. But after years of falling prices, battery costs are now headed in the wrong direction.

Why it matters: Costlier batteries could drive up the price of electric vehicles — threatening the auto industry's transition away from fossil fuels, and, in turn, society's fight against climate change.