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What We Learned From the Stormy Daniels Interview

She won't say whether she has photos, messages
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2018 6:00 AM CDT
Updated Mar 26, 2018 6:33 AM CDT

(Newser) – Stormy Daniels' spoke out about her alleged affair with President Trump in a 60 Minutes interview that aired Sunday night—an interview that the Hill predicts will become "watercooler news" in offices around the country, and a major embarrassment for Trump. The biggest revelation in the interview with Anderson Cooper is that Daniels says she was threatened in 2011 after she first agreed to sell her story to a magazine. Daniels said she was coming forward now to defend herself. "I'm not OK with being made out to be a liar, or people thinking that I did this for money and people are like, 'Oh, you're an opportunist. You're taking advantage of this,''' she said, though she admitted that she had been getting more job offers lately. A roundup of coverage:

  • Photos and messages? Daniels declined to confirm whether photos or text messages that back up her account of the affair exist, the Washington Post reports in its list of five takeaways from the interview. She said her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, recommended she not discuss such things. When Cooper told Avenatti he could be bluffing, the attorney said: "You should ask some of the other people in my career when they've bet on me bluffing."

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  • She wasn't attracted to Trump. Unlike former Playmate Karen McDougal, Daniels said she wasn't physically attracted to Trump, who was 33 years older than her at the time of the alleged encounter in 2006, USA Today reports. She added, however, that the sex was consensual and she wasn't "a victim." The adult film star told Cooper she had sex with Trump once, without protection, in 2006 after he told her he might be able to get her on The Apprentice. She said when she asked about Melania Trump, who had given birth to Barron a few months earlier, Trump told her they had "separate rooms and stuff."
  • The spanking. Daniels said she spanked Trump with a magazine that had his face on it, but it was more playful than erotic. She said that when she joked about spanking him with the magazine he had been boasting about, "he turned around and pulled his pants down a little—you know, had underwear on and stuff, and I just gave him a couple swats."
  • A cease-and-desist letter. After the interview aired Sunday, Brent Blakely, a lawyer for Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, sent a cease-and-desist letter to Avenatti, complaining that he had been linked to the alleged threat, the New York Times reports. Cohen "had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with any such person or incident, and does not even believe that any such person exists, or that such incident ever occurred," the letter stated.

  • "You remind me of my daughter." Daniels told Cooper that Trump told her she reminded him of his daughter, the AP reports. "He was like, 'Wow, you—you are special. You remind me of my daughter,'" she said. "You know—he was like, 'You're smart and beautiful, and a woman to be reckoned with, and I like you. I like you."
  • Why it all matters. At Vox, Dylan Matthew argues that Avenatti was right when he told Cooper that the real story isn't about Trump's tawdry alleged infidelity, it's about the abuse of power. "It's about the fact that Trump was willing to exploit his money and power to intimidate Daniels, through agents like his longtime attorney Michael Cohen," he writes. "And it’s about the entitlement that lets him justify that behavior to himself."
  • Silence from Trump. The president has remained silent about the interview on Twitter and in person, ignoring shouted questions from reporters as he returned to the White House from Mar-a-Lago Sunday night. The Hill notes Melania Trump has decided to stay in Florida "for spring break" instead of returning to Washington.
(Read more Stormy Daniels stories.)

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