In a February phone call, Trump told his then-personal attorney, Michael Cohen, to coordinate with his son Eric Trump and another lawyer who had represented the Trump Organization in the past, according to the Journal. The president was reportedly seeking a restraining order against Daniels, the adult film actress who says she had a sexual relationship with Trump in 2006, to enforce the nondisclosure agreement she signed. Trump has denied the affair took place.
The president told Cohen he would “take care of everything,” indicating that he would cover the legal costs, a person familiar with the conversation told the Journal.
The report raises questions about Trump’s ties to his flagship company, the Trump Organization. Currently, the company is run by Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. while their father serves as president.
An unnamed source with knowledge of the situation told the paper that Eric Trump was acting as the president’s son, rather than as a Trump Organization executive. In March, the company flatly denied participating in any effort to silence Daniels. It claimed that Jill Martin, the Trump Organization lawyer, was involved “in her individual capacity.”
Eric Trump was also reportedly involved in drafting the statement to news outlets asking about the arbitration over the restraining order.
It was reported early this year that Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 as hush money shortly before the 2016 presidential election.
Despite the nondisclosure agreement she signed in exchange for the payment, Daniels spoke to CBS’s “60 Minutes” about the alleged affair one month after Trump reportedly told Cohen to take legal action against her. Last month, she published a tell-all book, Full Disclosure, containing lurid details of her alleged relationship with Trump.
Cohen pleaded guilty on eight counts ― including violations related to the payments to Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal ― in late August. (McDougal also says she had an affair with Trump, which the president has denied.)
Cohen initially said the Daniels payment was his own dealing. In his guilty plea, however, Cohen pointed the finger at Trump, suggesting the president was behind the payments to Daniels and McDougal all along.