Adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who claims to have had an affair with Donald Trump before he was elected president, told the CBS news show 60 Minutes that she was threatened when she tried to tell her story and accepted hush money through a Trump attorney because she was scared for her family.
Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, said in the highly anticipated interview Sunday that she was on her way to a fitness class with her infant daughter when she was approached by a stranger.
“A guy walked up on me and said to me, Leave Trump alone. Forget the story,’ ” Daniels told journalist Anderson Cooper. “And then he leaned around and looked at my daughter and said, ‘That’s a beautiful little girl. It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom.’ And then he was gone.”
The incident, in a Las Vegas parking lot in 2011, occurred shortly after she first tried to sell her story to a tabloid magazine. She said the incident made her fearful for years and that she thought she was doing the right thing when she accepted $130,000 from Trump attorney Michael Cohen to stay quiet.
After The Wall Street Journal reported on the payment, Daniels told Cooper that she lied when she signed a statement denying the affair. When asked why, Daniels said she was bullied into it. “They made it sound like I had no choice,” she said. While there was not any threat of physical violence at the time, she said, she was worried about other repercussions. “The exact sentence used was, ‘They can make your life hell in many different ways.'”
She said she didn’t know who could make her life hell, but that she believed “it to be Michael Cohen.”
Cohen has denied threatening Daniels, and refused a request to appear on 60 Minutes.
Daniels’ appearance represents back-to-back trouble for Trump after an interview broadcast last week on CNN with former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who described a 10-month long affair with Trump starting in 2006.
McDougal has sued to break free of a confidentiality agreement that was struck in the months before the 2016 election, for which she was paid $150,000.
Daniels sued the president on March 6, stating Trump never signed an agreement for her to keep quiet about their relationship.
Both women say their relationships with Trump began in 2006 and ended in 2007 and that they were paid for their silence in the months before the 2016 presidential election.
Representatives of Trump have dismissed the allegations of McDougal and Daniels, saying that the affairs never happened and that Trump had no knowledge of any payments.
Ahead of the interview, the president and first lady have opted to be in different states. Trump returned to Washington from Palm Beach on Sunday, while Melania will remain in Florida on a pre-scheduled spring break, her communicators director said.