Nov 9, 2018

WSJ: Prosecutors have evidence Trump personally involved in paying off mistresses

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President Trump directed or was personally involved in multiple payments of hush money to women claiming to have had sexual encounters with him — potentially breaking campaign finance laws, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: We’re now starting to get a picture of what Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, tabloid exec David Pecker and former Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg have been telling federal prosecutors, Axios' Jonathan Swan says.

What to know: New York City federal prosecutors wrote up an 80-page draft indictment in August to be used against Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, which outlined Cohen's coordination with undisclosed Trump campaign members via phone calls and meetings about the payments to women claiming sexual relationships. Sources familiar with the document told the Wall Street Journal that the unnamed campaign member was Trump himself.

How he did it:

  • In 2015, Trump asked American Media CEO Pecker to help him with his campaign. Pecker offered to use the National Enquirer to silence women who claim to have had sexual relationships with Trump, according to WSJ. He eventually paid $150,000 to model Karen McDougal, who claimed to have had an affair with Trump years before.
  • Cohen has also reportedly told prosecutors that he discussed with Trump the payments to former porn star Stormy Daniels in the weeks leading up to it, and how to ensure it could not be traced back to the then-presidential candidate.

The bottom line: In order to be guilty of federal campaign finance crimes, Trump would have had to used more than $2,700 worth of campaign contributions from companies or individuals in these payments, Richard Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, told WSJ.

Go deeper

World coronavirus updates: Global death toll surpasses 34,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 34,000 people and infected over 723,000 others globally, per Johns Hopkins data. Italy reported more than 10,700 deaths early Monday.

The big picture: Governments around the world have stepped up public health and economic measures to stop the spread of the virus and soften the financial impact. In the U.S., now the site of the largest outbreak in the world, President Trump said Sunday that his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30,

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 a.m. ET: 722,435 — Total deaths: 33,997 — Total recoveries: 151,991.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 1 a.m.. ET: 142,502 — Total deaths: 2,506 — Total recoveries: 4,856.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump says his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "panicked" some people into fleeing New York
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reports 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reports almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

U.S. coronavirus updates: Infections number tops 140,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The novel coronavirus has now infected over 142,000 people in the U.S. — more than any other country in the world, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: COVID-19 had killed over 2,400 people in the U.S. by Sunday night. That's far fewer than in Italy, where over 10,000 people have died — accounting for a third of the global death toll. The number of people who've recovered from the virus in the U.S. exceeded 2,600 Sunday evening.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 hours ago - Health