President Trump knew details and facilitated payments to silence two women about their alleged affairs with him, according to a news report published Friday.
Mr. Trump arranged meetings and phone calls about the payments with Michael Cohen, who was his personal attorney at that time, according to the Wall Street Journal. The report also said the Manhattan U.S. attorney has evidence of Mr. Trump’s involvement with the payments.
The payments were made to porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal ahead of the 2016 presidential election. In August, Cohen told a federal judge in New York the payments were made at the direction of “the candidate,” implying it was Mr. Trump’s decision to pay the women.
The goal of the hush money was to keep Ms. McDougal and Ms. Daniels from speaking about their alleged affairs with the media. Ms. McDougal was paid $150,000 for the rights to her story from the publisher of the National Enquirer, but the story was never published.
A similar payment of $130,000 was made to Ms. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.
Mr. Trump has denied affairs with both women.
The White House referred the Wall Street Journal to Trump’s outside counsel Jay Sekulow, who refused to comment.
Mr. Cohen pleaded guilty to eight criminal counts, some related to the payments. Willful cause of unlawful corporate contribution and one count of excessive campaign contribution. He is scheduled to be sentenced on December 12.