Popular vote loser Donald Trump has lots of problems right now, not the least of which are his legal problems surrounding the Russia probe and the Stormy Daniels affair.
In a shocking revelation, Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for Daniels, has suggested that the two scandals are likely related in a very big, and very likely illegal, way.
On Monday, Avenatti tweeted: “After significant investigation, we have discovered that Mr. Trump’s atty Mr. Cohen received approximately $500,000 in the mos. after the election from a company controlled by a Russian Oligarc with close ties to Mr. Putin. These monies may have reimbursed the $130k payment.”
Avenatti is claiming that the hush money for Stormy Daniels may have came from one of Putin’s favorite billionaire oligarchs.
The Atlantic’s Natasha Bertrand reports:
Cohen’s attorney, Steve Ryan, told me on Tuesday that the transactions did not amount to “a payment.”
“I know you’re using shorthand,” Ryan added, when I asked him whether Cohen was paid by a Ukrainian-born Russian billionaire referenced in an unverified Dossier that Avenatti published to Twitter. “But this was not a payment.”
He followed up in an email, writing, “Don’t contact me again. Ever.”
In a phone conversation on Tuesday, Avenatti disputed Ryan’s characterization, but declined to provide additional evidence to support his initial claim. “It is completely inaccurate to say that these were not payments,” Avenatti told me.
“The constant media/PR pressure has forced Trump, Cohen, et al. to make a series of huge errors and to make damaging admissions helpful to our case,” Avenatti said. “This was not by accident. And we’re not changing.”
For quite a while now, it seemed like the scandal that brought the Trump presidency down was going to be Russia. Then it seemed like maybe it would be the Daniels’ scandal. Now, incredibly, it looks like it could be both. What a crazy time to be alive.