The sex worker at the center of a swelling controversy about whether President Donald J. Trump paid hush money right before the 2016 election to squelch her account of a sexual encounter with him revealed in a “60 Minutes” interview Sunday that she took the money because she had been threatened.
The woman, Stephanie Clifford, 39, also known by her stage name “Stormy Daniels,” described meeting Trump during a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. He invited her to dinner, she says, and met him at his hotel suite, where they had unprotected sex. Afterwards, the two stayed in touch, but never had sex again.
At the time of the encounter, July 2006, Trump was married to his current wife, Melania, who had given birth four months before to their son, Barron.
Five years later, in May 2011, Clifford recounted the affair to In Touch magazine. Two former employees of the magazine told "60 Minutes" that the report was not published because after it contacted Trump for comment, Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, threatened to sue. That’s when a man allegedly approached Clifford and threatened her.
“I was in a parking lot, going to a fitness class, with my infant daughter,” she says. “And a guy walked up on me and said to me ‘Leave Trump alone forget the story.’ And then he leaned around and looked at my daughter and said ‘a beautiful little girl, it would be a shame if something happened to her mom’ and then he was gone.”
In August 2016, after Trump won the Republican nomination for president, journalists began contacting her.
“People were reaching out to me offering me money, large amounts of money.”
But, she says, the best offer she received came from Cohen, Trump’s attorney, to not tell her story. She took the deal, accepted $130,000 and signed a non-disclosure agreement on October 28, 2016– eleven days before the presidential election. She did so, she says, because “I was concerned for my family and their safety.”
Trump, normally a torrential Tweeter, has remained conspicuously silent concerning Clifford’s story, as the Washington Post pointed out.
Stephanie Grisham, Melania Trump’s communications director, did Tweet in response to the interview.
The entire interview can be viewed at CBS News.