Stormygate Continues to Move Forward, Inches at a Time

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

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Stormygate continues to amble along. By now everyone agrees that evangelical Christians and other Trump supporters couldn’t care less that Donald Trump had a lengthy affair with a porn star shortly after his wife had a baby. I mean, Melania was probably gross looking, right? What was the guy supposed to do?

But there’s still the issue of that $130,000 paid to Stormy Daniels a few weeks before the election in return for her agreement to say the affair never happened. Trump and his comically bellicose attorney, Michael Cohen, have somehow managed to avoid having to address this even though nobody denies the payment itself. That’s enough of a knothole for the good folks at Common Cause to jump through:

Today, Common Cause filed complaints with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging that the payment of $130,000 to Stephanie Clifford (a.k.a. Stormy Daniels), through an LLC, was an unreported in-kind contribution to President Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign committee in violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act. The complaint also asks the agencies to determine whether the payment was made by the Trump Organization or some other corporation or individual, which would additionally make it an illegal in-kind contribution to the campaign. Corporations are prohibited from contributing to federal candidates and individual contributions are limited to $2,700.

I eagerly await comment from election law experts about the critical question at the core of this lawsuit: Is hush money a campaign contribution that needs to be reported to the FEC? Maybe! In the meantime, the folks at CREW uncovered an interesting tidbit this morning:

Huh. So…maybe the Trump Organization paid off Stormy, and then got reimbursed by the campaign? I would normally be skeptical on the grounds that no one could possibly be this stupid, but this is Trump we’re talking about.

Then again, maybe the Russians paid off Stormy! I definitely think that’s plausible enough that Robert Mueller should subpeona Cohen for a brief chat under oath. Remember, kids, attorney-client privilege doesn’t cover conversations made with the intention of committing or covering up a crime or fraud.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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