Paralleling the Mueller investigation, which is known to be following the money as it looks into the Trump campaign’s involvement with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign, the Stormy Daniels case is taking a similar approach today.
Daniel’s lawyer, Michael Avenatti, appeared on NBC News to talk about an email that shows that Trump’s lawyer, Micahel Cohen used his Trump Organization email when communicating about the transfer of $130,000 of “hush money” into Cohen’s checking account at a bank Trump was also using at the time, First Republic.
Since the email was from the Trump Organization, it could be evidence that shows Cohen’s services in the matter were paid for, which could point to an illegal contribution to the Trump campaign.
“The use of the Trump Organization email is evidence that Cohen’s services were, at least in part, being paid for by the Trump Organization. That would be an illegal corporate contribution to the campaign even if the company did not pay the $130,000.” https://t.co/OfV2EGP4qe
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 9, 2018
The day after the email, Cohen wired the money to Stormy’s lawyer’s account at City National Bank.
“They say, ‘Follow the money,’ and this goes directly to following the money, to show exactly where this money came from,” said Daniel’s current attorney, Michael Avenatti. “We think it’s a substantial development.”
Although Cohen made a statement that the Trump Organization and Campaign weren’t involved with the money sent to Stormy, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, the email, dated Oct. 26, 2016, shows that Cohen was communicating about the matter on Trump company email.
“Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly,” Cohen said in that statement.
Cohen used a specific word, “facilitate,” when referring to the payment he made to Clifford last month, saying he used “personal funds to facilitate a payment” to Clifford. He avoided saying he simply made the payment. The word “facilitate” could imply that there were others involved in the money transfer.
Furthering the optics that Cohen was working on the matter in his official capacity with the Trump Organization, a source told NBC News that Clifford’s attorney at the time of the money transfer, Keith Davidson corresponded with Cohen, referring to him as “Special Counsel to Donald J. Trump.”
Although Cohen said that Trump knew nothing about the payment to Clifford, her attorney believes otherwise.
“We believe that ultimately we’re going to be able to trace this back, in one form or another, to a payment from the Trump Organization or to a surrogate for Mr. Trump,” said Avenatti.
Around the time of the wire transfer, the transaction was flagged for suspicious activity by First Republic Bank, and a year later, City National Bank also raised concerns with Clifford’s attorney at that time, asking him where the money came from.
A new lawsuit by Avenatti and Clifford asserts that Clifford can share more of her story with the media because Trump failed to sign a non-disclosure agreement after the money was received on Oct. 28, 2016. Cohen’s attorney warned that filing a lawsuit would violate the agreement, but Avenatti believes the unsigned agreement is void.
The suit alleges that Trump very well knew that Cohen used funds to silence Clifford, referring to rules of the New York bar, which would require Cohen to keep his client “informed at all times.”
See more in the video from MSNBC below:
Featured image: Screenshot via YouTube