For the first time, insiders are linking President Trump to a $130,000 payment his personal attorney made to former porn star Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 election. Michael Cohen has claimed Trump wasn't involved in the payment wired from an account at First Republic Bank, which reportedly came in exchange for an agreement barring Daniels from discussing an alleged affair with Trump. But in describing how the bank reported the transaction to the Treasury Department as suspicious, the Wall Street Journal disputes that, citing sources who say Cohen initially missed two payment deadlines because he couldn't reach Trump and complained to friends that he wasn't reimbursed after the payment was received at City National Bank in Los Angeles on Oct. 27, 2016, 12 days before Trump's election victory.
City National Bank opened an inquiry a year later for unknown reasons, though the Journal raises the possibility that Robert Mueller's team was involved. The Washington Post points out the timing of the payment, five years after Daniels first spoke about the alleged affair, may support claims of an attempt to influence the election. An email obtained by the Post reveals Daniels threatened to call off the nondisclosure agreement on Oct. 17, the same day crowds appeared in front of Trump Tower to protest Trump's comments about grabbing women. Two House Democrats are now demanding an FBI investigation into the payment and another made by the owner of the National Enquirer to squash a story about an alleged affair between Trump and former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal. (Read more Stormy Daniels stories.)