The 2016 presidential election represented many historic firsts. It was the first time that a major party had chosen a woman as its candidate. It was the first time a candidate had bragged he could shoot someone on a major thoroughfare and not lose any first votes. before taking office, a foreign opponent asked to hack his opponent’s email account. And, of course, it was the first time a presidential candidate had his lawyer pay a porn star six figures to cover up an alleged affair.
Obviously, that last item refers to one Donald Trump and a Stormy Daniels— with whom Trump has denied having an affair — and a payment for which, like so many things, the ex-president never suffered any consequences. And maybe still not, although his chances of avoiding the consequences have only increased.
The New York Times reports that the Manhattan district attorney’s office would begin Monday “presenting evidence to a grand jury” about Trump’s role in the 2016 hush money scheme, “laying the groundwork for possible criminal charges against the former president in the coming months, according to people in the know.” According to the newspaper, the jury has just been formed and will soon start hearing testimonies, “a clear signal that the prosecutor, Alvin L Bragg, nearing a decision on whether to indict Mr. Trump.”
One of those witnesses is reportedly david pecker, the former publisher of the National Survey. His testimony could be of particular importance as the Time notes, because of an agreement he made in 2016 to watch out for potentially damaging stories about Trump and make sure they never see the light of day. For example, in August of that year, American Media, Inc., the publisher of the National Survey and the company Pecker was CEO of at the time paid $150,000 to buy the rights to the story of former playboy fashion model Karen MacDougal— who also claimed she had an affair with the then Republican nominee — and never published anything (Trump has denied having an affair with McDougal.) Two months later, Daniels was in talks about the possibility of her rights to the tabloid, but this time it was different.
As the Time notes:
According to the Time, Prosecutors have attempted to interview Howard and Trump Organization employees Jeffrey McConney And Deborah Tarasoff To the grand jury, which noted that while McConney and Tarasoff “were not central players, they helped arrange for the Trump Organization to reimburse Mr. Cohen for the $130,000 he paid Ms. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.”
Meanwhile, Michael Cohen — who in 2018 pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations, bank fraud and tax extortion, and said he arranged the payments at Trump’s behest — is apparently happy to tell investigators what he knows about the hush money issue. to the Time, Cohen was at the district attorney’s office earlier this month for a meeting with prosecutors and “is expected to return in February for at least one additional interview with the prosecutors.”
As for what would need to happen to impeach Trump: