When Michael Cohen wired $130,000 to a former adult film actress in October 2016, the point was that everyone would stay quiet.
Instead, the transfer has blown up in his face, as President Trump's personal attorney has found himself in the center of a sordid scandal that has played out in television shows, front pages, and FBI raids. The actress, Stormy Daniels — real name Stephanie Clifford — had spoken publicly in 2011 about an affair she says she had with Trump, but Cohen's acknowledgement in February that he paid her to keep quiet just weeks before the election sparked a tabloid firestorm.
Daniels says the affair occurred in 2006, just one year after Trump married his third wife, Melania, and just a few months after the birth of their son, Barron. Trump has denied the relationship. In a somewhat somber picture of Cohen's place in the Trump orbit, The New York Times on Friday said that Cohen at one point even tried to make amends to the first lady for making the Daniels story national news:
In a Fox News interview last year, Mr. Cohen declared: "I will do anything to protect Mr. Trump." He told Vanity Fair in September that "I'm the guy who would take a bullet for the president," adding, "I'd never walk away."
At a Republican fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago earlier this year, Mr. Cohen went so far as to approach the first lady, Melania Trump, to try to apologize for the pain he caused her with the payment to [Daniels], the adult film actress who has claimed to have had the sexual encounter with Mr. Trump. [The New York Times]
The Times goes on to list many indignities reportedly suffered by Cohen at Trump's hands. As longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone told the paper: "Donald goes out of his way to treat [Cohen] like garbage." Read more at The New York Times.