The conversation over what did or did not happen between Stormy Daniels and President Donald Trump is heating up. Daniels appeared on 60 Minutes Sunday, March 25 to talk about her history with Trump and man, was it a doozy. So it's maybe no surprise that after Daniels' interview, the White House denied any "wrongdoing" and challenged the accuracy of her claims. But now, the tweets about the White House response to Stormy Daniels' interview show people are not buying it. Trump has previously denied any claims that he had any sort of affair with Daniels or paid her any money to silence her.
In her interview, Daniels shared details of her alleged affair with the president, including a $130,000 payment made to her just 11 days before the election in exchange for signing a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, has said he gave the money to Daniels out of his own pocket as a private citizen, which might have violated campaign finance laws because the cap on what he's allowed to contribute is $2,700, according to NPR. Cohen has stated that the money did not come from Trump's campaign and had nothing to do with the election.
After the interview, on Monday, March 26, White House spokesperson Raj Shah was asked if the president, the Trump campaign, or the Trump Organization had violated federal election law with the payment. And Shah dodged the question, saying that he could only speak for the White House and that "the White House did not engage in any wrongdoing." He added that, "with respect to that interview, I will say that the president has strongly, clearly, and consistently denied those underlying claims and the only person who's been inconsistent is the one making the claims."
Twitter, however, did not buy a single word of it.
A reminder that Trump was not yet in office when payment was made to Daniels, therefore, the White House wouldn't be under fire for any violation of campaign finance laws that might have occurred — it's Trump and his campaign who would be on the hook. And note that Shah did not say "Trump," he said, "White House." So it's all true, but doesn't answer the actual question asked.
Those involved have been trying to distance the president from the claim.
Cohen claimed that he gave Daniels the money out of his own pocket because as Trump's lawyer, he felt the need to help his client. But according to Trevor Potter, former chairman of the Federal Election Commission, that doesn't let Cohen off the hook, because even as a private citizen, the money exceeded the contribution cap and took part in influencing the election. As Potter told Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes,
It's a $130,000 in-kind contribution by Cohen to the Trump campaign, which is about $126,500 above what he's allowed to give. And if he does this on behalf of his client, the candidate, that is a coordinated, illegal, in-kind contribution by Cohen for the purpose of influencing the election, of benefiting the candidate by keeping this secret.
The payment exceeded the contribution gap, true, and may have violated campaign finance laws, but Trump was not in the White House yet. So, what Shah said is true — despite totally, obviously missing the point of the question.
The truth is the White House has nothing to do with the Daniels claims or any payoff that was given to her. However, the White House will not be left out of the fallout from all of this, if there is any.