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So, WTF Happened During Stormy Daniels’ ’60 Minutes’ Interview? Here’s the Breakdown

On Sunday night, Stormy Daniels sat down with Anderson Cooper for a highly-anticipated 60 Minutes interview. The spotlight was on the porn star’s alleged affair with President Donald Trump — one that Daniels was allegedly paid hush money for, by Trump’s personal attorney, to keep quiet about.

Cooper initially noted that for even appearing on 60 Minutes, Daniels could be fined one million dollars. However, that risk obviously didn’t stop her.

While she was perfectly fine with remaining silent, Daniels expressed that she was not okay with being made out to be a liar. She wants people to know that she is not a victim in this situation. When Cooper told Daniels that many people are using her for specific agendas, such as the #MeToo movement, Daniels got straight to the point:

“They’re trying to,” says Daniels. “Like, oh, you know, Stormy Daniels comes out #MeToo. This is not a ‘Me Too.’ I was not a victim. I’ve never said I was a victim. I think trying to use me to further someone else’s agenda, does horrible damage to people who are true victims.”

Daniels seemed to be motivated by one goal: to set the record straight. So, if you missed it, you’re probably wondering: WTF happened?! Here’s the breakdown. 

They met in 2006.

So, how did Daniels even meet Donald Trump? The 39-year-old actress, director and writer of adult films, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, was introduced to Trump in 2006 at a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe. She revealed that he invited her to dinner, and later, she met him at his hotel suite and things took a different turn.

While Daniels described their initial conversation as mostly centered around Trump himself, she seemed to have brought out a different side when she asked if talking about himself “normally works” for him (i.e., is being self-absorbed a major kink of his?). Daniels took the magazine that Trump was showing her, featuring his image on the cover, and swatted Trump a few times on the behind with it in a joking manner. From that point on, Daniels describes that he was a “completely different person.”

Daniels told Cooper, “You know, he was like, ‘You’re smart and beautiful, and a woman to be reckoned with, and I like you. I like you.'”

The pair had dinner in the room that night, where their conversation varied from Trump’s show The Apprentice and whether Daniels would be interested in being a contestant, to wife Melania Trump and the fact that she had just recently given birth to their son. Trump brushed off the latter, noting that the two slept in separate bedrooms.

Daniels described that after their dinner, she used the restroom, only to come back to find Trump perched on the end of the bed. When asked about her thoughts, Daniels responded:

“I realized exactly what I’d gotten myself into. And I was like, ‘Ugh, here we go.’ [laugh] And I just felt like maybe, [laugh], it was sort of, I had it coming for making a bad decision for going to someone’s room alone and I just heard the voice in my head, ‘well, you put yourself in a bad situation and bad things happen, so you deserve this.'”

The pair had unprotected sex.

Cooper then confirmed with Daniels that the two had sex, pointing out that she was only 27 at the time, while Trump was 60. While Daniels noted that she was neither physically attracted to Trump nor wanted to have sex with him, she doesn’t identify as a victim because she didn’t say no.

While the absence of the word “no” doesn’t indicate consent, Daniels confirmed with Cooper that the sex was consensual. Cooper asked if Trump had used a condom, as the use of protection and barrier methods in the adult porn industry can be an issue. Trump had not used a condom, and Daniels did not ask him to. In fact, she reveals that she didn’t say anything. 

The two parted, and Trump expressed he hoped that Daniels would be willing to see him again, and that they would discuss what they had talked about earlier, which Cooper confirmed meant talking about being on The Apprentice. 

The two continued to stay in touch, and Daniels pointed out that Trump had never advised her to keep this a secret. Trump would even call Daniels, and while he gave her updates of being on The Apprentice, Daniels admitted that part of her didn’t always believe it (and that Trump was just using it as a way to keep her coming back), but she thought of the potential opportunity as a business deal.

Trump attempted to continue their sexual affair.

In 2007, Trump asked Daniels to meet him in private again — this time at his bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles. While Trump said that discussing her appearance on The Apprentice was on the agenda, Trump instead kept her for hours watching a shark documentary during Shark Week. While the two didn’t end up having sex, Daniels could tell sex was what Trump wanted by the way he was touching her hair and legs and referencing how great the last time was. So how did Daniels get out of having sex with Trump again?

“Well, I’d been there for, like, four hours,” Daniels told Cooper. “And so I then was like, ‘Well, before, you know, can we talk about what’s the development?’ And he was like, ‘I’m almost there. I’ll have an answer for you next week.’ And I was like, ‘Okay, cool. Well, I guess call me next week.’ And I just took my purse and left.”

The two never met again, as Daniels was informed by Trump a month later that he was not able to get her a spot on the show. In 2011, Daniels agreed to tell her story to In Touch for $15,000, but that story never ran, and Daniels was never paid. Two former employees of the magazine told 60 Minutes that Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen threatened to sue after the magazine contacted Trump for comment.

Daniels was threatened by an unknown man.

A few weeks later, Daniels was threatened by a man in Las Vegas.

“I was in a parking lot, going to a fitness class with my infant daughter,” Daniels said. “Taking, you know, the seats facing backwards in the backseat, diaper bag, you know, gettin’ all the stuff out. And a guy walked up on me and said to me, ‘Leave Trump alone. Forget the story.’ And then he leaned around and looked at my daughter and said, ‘That’s a beautiful little girl. It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom.’ And then he was gone.”

Daniels didn’t go to the police out of fear, but even to this day she swears she’d be able to recognize the man who threatened her if she saw him.

Trump’s lawyer offered hush money following his presidential nomination.

A few months after this incident, a gossip website reported that Daniels had an affair with Trump. She publicly denied the story. The interview then fast-forwards five years later down the timeline, when Trump won the Republican nomination for president. This is where the hush money comes in. 

“Suddenly people are reaching out to me again, offering me money,” Daniels said. “Large amounts of money. Was I tempted? Yes, I struggle with it. And then I get the call. ‘I think I have the best deal for you.'”

Daniels reveals that her lawyer had called, and Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen was offering $130,000 dollars for Daniels to sign a non-disclosure agreement. 60 Minutes said that Daniels signed the agreement 11 days before the election.

“I was concerned for my family and their safety,” Daniels explained. While the money was a nice perk, Daniels wouldn’t have to worry about her daughter finding out about the affair on the news, and she wouldn’t have to worry about any danger or threats. While Cooper said that some people might be skeptical that Daniels was really concerned for her family by taking the money, she says all the proof she needs lies in her actions.

“I think the fact that I didn’t even negotiate, I just quickly said yes to this very, you know, strict contract,” Daniels explained. “And what most people will agree with me extremely low number. It’s all the proof I need.”

Not to mention, Daniels knows that if she really wanted money out of this whole situation, she could have made it by selling her story.

The Wall Street Journal published a story about the hush money in January 2018.

Fast-forward again to only a few months ago, in January 2018. 60 Minutes said that the Wall Street Journal published a story with anonymous sources about the exchange of hush money for silence between Cohen and Daniels.

Once the story was published, Daniels felt pressured to sign statements denying the affair with Trump, which she said were pushed on her by her former attorney and former business manager. Cooper asked Daniels, “You thought that there would be some sort of legal repercussion if you didn’t sign it?” to which Daniels replied, “Correct. As a matter of fact, the exact sentence used was, ‘They can make your life hell in many different ways.'”

The big problem here is the fact that this monetary settlement was made 11 days before the election, which 60 Minutes said may be against campaign finance laws. While Cohen said he used $130,000 of his own money to pay Daniels, Trevor Potter, a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission, told 60 Minutes he doesn’t buy it. 

“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,” said Potter. “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.” And if Trump never paid Cohen back for this money, then this makes the situation even stickier for them both.

While Cohen did not respond to 60 Minutes for comment, he did respond to to both The New York Times and Vanity Fair, saying that he paid Daniels out of his own pocket. 

Michael Avenatti, Daniels’ attorney, sees the situation as “ludicrous.” 

“It’s just a coincidence that, in the waning days of the campaign, he thought to himself, ‘Oh, you know, I know I’ve been thinkin’ about this for years. Perhaps now is a good time to get that NDA executed with Stormy Daniels,'” Avenatti told Cooper.

Daniels’ attorney says this is all about threats, intimidation and covering up the truth.

Cooper and Avenatti continued to discuss Cohen’s true motives behind this payment.

“This is about the cover-up,” said Avenatti. “This is about the extent that Mr. Cohen and the president have gone to intimidate this woman, to silence her, to threaten her, and to put her under their thumb. It is thuggish behavior from people in power. And it has no place in American democracy.”

Avenatti also drew attention to Cohen’s recent court filing claiming Daniels is liable for damages “in excess of $20 million” due to violations of the agreement.

“You threaten someone, with a $20 million lawsuit, it’s a thuggish tactic,” said Avenatti. “It’s no different than what happened in the parking lot in Las Vegas.”

Avenatti is currently suing President Trump to declare the non-disclosure agreement as invalid because Trump never signed the agreement on the lines provided for his alias, “D.D.,” David Dennison. Cohen, however, disagreed and said that only Trump’s signature is required. He also said that the agreement required from Daniels all “video images, still images, email messages, and text messages” involving Trump. Daniels chose not to comment whether she complied, as her attorney recommends she doesn’t discuss it.

Trump’s attorney Charles Harder wrote a letter to 60 Minutes, requesting that they read on air one of the statements Daniels signed in January. 60 Minutes noted one part that read, “My involvement with Donald Trump was limited to a few public appearances and nothing more.”  

Cooper asked Avenatti that if Daniels denied the affair in 2011, early January 2018 and late January 2018, what does that do to her credibility?

“I think there’s no question that it calls into question her credibility,” Avenatti explained. “I also think that there’s no question that when the American people take all of the facts and evidence into consideration, that they are going to conclude that this woman is telling the truth. And Anderson, to the extent that Mr. Cohen and the president have an alternative version of the facts let them come forward and state it unequivocally.”

Ultimately, he understands where Daniels was coming from.

“If the president of the United States’ fixer made it clear to me, either directly or indirectly, that I needed to sign it, and I was in the position of Stormy Daniels, I might sign those statements,” he said.

Daniels says that she felt intimidated and has no reason to lie.

And again, Daniels explained that she felt pressured.

“I felt intimidated and honestly bullied,” said Daniels. “And I didn’t know what to do. And so I signed it. Even though I had repeatedly expressed that I wouldn’t break the agreement, but I was not comfortable lying.”

Bottom line, Daniels points out that she has no reason to lie.

“I have no reason to lie,” said Daniels. “I’m opening myself up for, you know, possible danger and definitely a whole lot of shit.”

The Huffington Post reports that Daniels’ interview with 60 Minutes earned their highest ratings in nearly 10 years. Excerpts that didn’t air can be watched below.

Amanda graduated from Carthage College with a Bachelor's degree in both Communications and Public Relations. She also proudly served as the Editor in Chief of her college's Her Campus chapter, and as a Her Campus Editorial Intern. She is from Chicago, Illinois, which she can confirm is indeed a windy city. Today she can still be found furiously tapping away at her laptop keys and producing content for the internet. In her spare time she enjoys reading books (before watching their Netflix or movie adaptions), running for fun (yes, it can be fun) and spending time with her friends and family.
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