(UPSOUND) REPORTER, SAYING: "Did you know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels." U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "No." Donald Trump’s claim that he knew nothing about hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels in the run-up to the 2016 election appears to have suffered a blow, as newly released FBI documents depict him as having been actively involved in the scheme.
The court papers, unsealed Thursday, reveal frequent phone calls and text messages involving Trump, his staffers and his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen – who testified that he paid $130,000 to Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, at the direction of then-candidate Trump, in order to squash her claim of an affair with Trump and avoid a scandal.
(SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) MICHAEL COHEN SAYING: "I regret the day I said yes to Mr. Trump.
I regret all the help and support I gave him along the way." The documents - which were used by prosecutors to obtain a 2018 search warrant for Cohen’s home and office - also show a central role played by Hope Hicks, Trump's presidential campaign press secretary who later became a senior White House official.
Hicks testified on Capitol Hill earlier this year that she was never present for any discussion during the campaign between Trump and Cohen about Daniels.
But the documents describe phone calls between Hicks and Cohen – with at least one involving Trump - which prosecutors believe were about the hush money.
They also show a text message Cohen sent to Hicks about a Wall Street Journal article detailing Trump’s alleged affairs that Cohen said was getting “little to no traction,” prompting Hicks to respond: “Same.
It’s working!” The documents were made public as federal prosecutors indicated that they have ended their investigation into campaign finance violations that centered around Cohen, suggesting they will not charge anyone in the Trump Organization or others linked to the matter.
Cohen began serving a three-year prison sentence in May for those violations and other crimes, including making false statements to a bank and tax evasion.
The White House and a lawyer for Hicks did not immediately respond to requests for comment.