One month before the 2016 presidential election, Fox News had a story ready to go about an alleged extramarital affair between adult film actress Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, and President Trump, but it never published it, four people familiar with the matter told CNN.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that in October 2016, Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, arranged a $130,000 payment to Clifford to keep her quiet about the alleged 2006 sexual relationship. Fox News reporter Diana Falzone had a completed story about Clifford and Trump, which included a statement from Clifford's manager confirming the relationship, but "Fox killed it," one person familiar with the matter told CNN. Fox News wasn't the only outlet writing about this story; The Daily Beast and Slate both said they were speaking to Clifford before the election, but she backed out of an interview with The Daily Beast and stopped returning phone calls from Slate.
Noah Kotch, who became editor-in-chief and vice president of Fox News digital in 2017, said in a statement that "like many other outlets, we were working to report the story of Stephanie Clifford's account in October 2016 about then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and a possible payment by Trump lawyer Michael Cohen. In doing our due diligence, we were unable to verify all of the facts and publish a story." Cohen and Clifford have both denied the Journal's report, and in a statement distributed by Cohen, Clifford said her involvement with Trump "was limited to a few public appearances and nothing more," and "rumors that I have received hush money from Donald Trump are completely false."