Updated Jan. 18, 2018 at 12:47 p.m. ET
After CNN reported that Fox News “killed” a story linking President Donald Trump to porn actress Stephanie Clifford during the 2016 election, the network pushed back on that characterization and said that the network was merely unable to verify the facts in the story.
“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,” Noah Kotch, the editor-in chief of Fox News Digital, said in a statement.
Ken LaCorte, the former head of Fox News Digital, followed up on Thursday with a post explaining why he decided against publishing the story. LaCorte said that the reporter did not have strong enough confirmation of the affair between Trump and Stormy Daniels to feel comfortable publishing it, and he argued that “no legitimate news organization would have published what we had.”
CNN reported that a Fox News reporter filed a story about an alleged sexual relationship between Clifford, who uses the stage name “Stormy Daniels,” and Trump with an on-the-record statement from Clifford’s manager right before the November election. However, Fox News “killed” the piece, an unnamed person familiar with the matter told CNN.
The revelation that Fox News and other outlets were tracking down the story about Clifford before the election came after the Wall Street Journal published a report last week on the alleged relationship. Trump attorney Michael Cohen arranged for Clifford to receive $130,000 for agreeing to keep quiet about a relationship with Trump, according to the Wall Street Journal.
In a statement circulated by Cohen last week, Clifford denied having a sexual relationship with Trump or receiving payment for her silence.
“My involvement with Donald Trump was limited to a few public appearances and nothing more,” she wrote in the statement. “When I met Donald Trump, he was gracious, professional and a complete gentleman to me and EVERYONE in my presence. Rumors that I have received hush money from Donald Trump are completely false. If indeed I did have a relationship with Donald Trump, trust me, you wouldn’t be reading about in the news, you would be reading about it in my book. But the fact of the matter is, these stories are not true.”