So the general chronology is this.
There was a brief affair between porn star Stormy Daniels and real estate moghul Donald Trump in 2006, beginning with a golf course encounter.
She talked about it to In Touch magazine in 2011, but the interview was never published, allegedly due to Trump team legal threats. (The text is now available. Highlights include her description of spanking Trump’s butt with a Forbes magazine with his face on the cover.) She took a lie-detector test and passed it before sharing her story.
After the interview Daniels was approached by a man in a Las Vegas parking lot outside a fitness club as she prepared to leave her car, baby girl in her arms. He told her, “Leave Trump alone. Forget the story.” Looking at her baby he said, “That’s a beautiful little girl. It would be a shame if something happened to her mom.” Daniels, shaken, did not contact police about the threat.
Daniels maintained silence to October 2016 when on the eve of the presidential election Trump’s lawyer Michael Dean Cohen paid her $130,000 to secure that silence.
She signed a nondisclosure agreement. Trump failed to sign for his own part, arguably making the agreement invalid.
On January 12, 2018o the Wall Street Journal (for whatever reason) broke the story the story of the hush-money, bringing the incident out into the open.
This month Daniels has filed a lawsuit against Trump (a complaint for declaratory relief) and come out with her story of casual dalliance, tabloid confession, intimidation, pay-off and (as she sees it) character assassination. She wants to make the record clear, and again, the NDA is in her lawyer’s view invalid.
Trump has maintained an uncharacteristic silence about this matter while Melania lectures in her listless way about the importance of courage.
Trump is also silent on former Playboy bunny Karen McDougal’s 10-month affair with him between 2006 and 2007. Anderson Cooper interviewed her on CNN just before interviewing Daniels. (Highlights include his offer of money to her after their first tryst, and his assumption that this was routine. She was hurt by his insensitivity. Imagine that.)
Everybody knew that Trump was a notorious philanderer but his image grows darker over time. Trump is a bully, who is hiring bullies. John Bolton is like that guy in the parking lot, muttering threats not to just one mom but all the moms of North Korea and Iran, Syria and Cuba.
One senses this timeline will end with the bully’s removal. Sexual behavior is classically deployed to undermine powerful men. In the end it may not be Russian ties, financial crimes or obstruction of justice but that Forbes spanking that does him in. If not the alleged Moscow hotel events.
To be clear: I have no problem with spanking as an erotic activity. Or watersports. These are fairly common fetishes. Nor do I care that Trump had sex with various women while being married; this too is very common and sometimes occurs by mutual agreement.
It’s the threat thing. The man who threatened Daniels will likely be identified soon. He will be asked who sent him to the parking lot.
CNN reports that Trump’s legal team is spending much more time on women’s law suits than on the Russia probe. The man is worried. His son-in-law and his daughter are in deep trouble. His family’s a mess, and he’s made a fool of himself globally for choosing a basket case as his national security advisor. The public knows he has paid women to keep silent. Should the people come to believe that he threatens women’s lives, he’s done for. You’d think.