Hushmoneygate? Stormygate? Whatever. It’s Getting Deeper, Faster.

Stormy Daniels: Clinton Wallace/Globe Photos/ZUMA; Michael Cohen: Tom Williams/Congressional Quarterly/Newscom via ZUMA

While we all wait to see what happens with the #ShitholeShutdown, the Wall Street Journal tells us more about the hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign:

President Donald Trump’s lawyer used a private Delaware company to pay a former adult-film star $130,000 in return for her agreeing to not publicly discuss an alleged sexual encounter with Mr. Trump, according to corporate records and people familiar with the matter.

The lawyer, Michael Cohen, established Essential Consultants LLC, on Oct. 17, 2016, just before the 2016 presidential election, corporate documents show….[To] mask the identities of the people involved in the agreement, the parties used pseudonyms, with [Daniels] identified as “Peggy Peterson,” according to a person familiar with the matter. Part of the draft settlement pact was published by Slate.

Let’s just repeat this: Trump’s lawyer paid hush money to a former mistress in the middle of a presidential campaign. But Trump refuses to talk about this and Cohen refuses to tell us where the money came from. How is it that the Wall Street Journal is the only paper chasing this story?

But fine. It’s a porn star and the president. You want the titillating gossip, don’t you? Fine. Our own Daniel Friedman writes that a few years ago Stormy Daniels considered running for the Senate in Louisiana. She gave all her cell phone contacts to a political consultant, who then emailed about it to Andrea Dubé, a Democratic political consultant based in New Orleans:

“Donald Trump?” she wrote. “In her cell phone?”

“Yep,” the other consultant replied. “She says one time he made her sit with him for three hours watching ‘shark week.’ Another time he had her spank him with a Forbes magazine.” Dubé and the other consultant confirmed to Mother Jones they exchanged these emails.

The campaign consultant who wrote the email to Dubé tells Mother Jones that Daniels said the spanking came during a series of sexual and romantic encounters with Trump and that it involved a copy of Forbes with Trump on the cover.

A fall 2006 cover of Forbes does feature Trump and two of his children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka.

benjamin_collectibles/eBay

Really, Donald? Such a naughty, naughty boy.

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THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot.

Please read our annual column about the state of journalism and Mother Jones' plans for the year ahead, and help us build an alternative to oligarchy by supporting our people-powered journalism with a year-end gift today.

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