Stephanie Clifford, the adult film actress who goes by Stormy Daniels professionally, detailed a threat she received to stay quiet about an alleged affair with President Donald Trump in an interview aired Sunday.
Clifford told Anderson Cooper, in a pre-taped and highly anticipated interview for CBS’ “60 Minutes” that a man threatened her in a Las Vegas parking lot after she’d given an interview about the alleged affair to a sister publication of In Touch magazine in 2011.
“I was in a parking lot, going to a fitness class with my infant daughter,” Clifford said, according to a transcript of the broadcast. “Taking, you know, the seats facing backwards in the backseat, diaper bag, you know, gettin’ all the stuff out. And a guy walked up on me and said to me, ‘Leave Trump alone. Forget the story.’”
“And then he leaned around and looked at my daughter and said, ‘That’s a beautiful little girl. It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom.’ And then he was gone.”
“You took it as a direct threat?” Cooper asked.
“Absolutely,” Clifford answered. “I was rattled. I remember going into the workout class. And my hands are shaking so much, I was afraid I was gonna drop her.”
Clifford said she never saw the man who threatened her again, but that “if I did, I would know it right away.”
“Even now, all these years later,” she would recognize him, she said. “If he walked in this door right now, I would instantly know.”
She said she did not report the incident to police “because I was scared.”
The threat pic.twitter.com/USqq4Zxzd4
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) March 26, 2018
Clifford first made political headlines in January, when the Wall Street Journal revealed that Trump lawyer Michael Cohen had used an LLC to “facilitate” a $130,000 payment to her, part of a nondisclosure agreement covering the alleged affair between Clifford and Trump years earlier, in 2006 and 2007. Cohen later claimed he was not, nor had he expected to be, reimbursed by Trump for the payment.
Clifford told Cooper she felt pressured to sign the NDA, even though she claims it was not in her financial best interest.
“They made it sound like I had no choice,” she said, referring to the NDA.
“The exact sentence used was, ‘They can make your life hell in many different ways,'” she added, admitting when pressed by Cooper that “I’m not exactly sure who they were. I believe it to be Michael Cohen.”
“I felt intimidated and s– honestly bullied,” Clifford said later in the interview. “And I didn’t know what to do. And so I signed it. Even though I had repeatedly expressed that I wouldn’t break the agreement, but I was not comfortable lying.”
Cohen has maintained that the agreement, which was negotiated in the final weeks of the 2016 election, is not itself an acknowledgement of any affair between Clifford and Trump. He has denied that it broke campaign finance laws, a claim some watchdog groups have questioned. And he has denied ever threatening Clifford.
Clifford detailed aspects of her relationship with Trump to Cooper, but stayed mum about one particularly interesting clause in the NDA, that required her to hand over all “video images, still images, email messages, and text messages” related to the encounter in question. Did she comply with that aspect of the agreement? Cooper asked.
“I can’t answer that right now,” Clifford said, adding: “My attorney has recommended that I don’t discuss those things.”
She did describe the alleged affair, though: After meeting Trump at a golf tournament in Lake Tahoe in 2006, she said, Trump invited her to his suite. There, she said, he showed her a magazine with his face on the cover.
“And so I was like, ‘Does this– does this normally work for you?'” Clifford recalled. “And he looked very taken– taken back, like, he didn’t really understand what I was saying.”
Clifford said she joking suggested she should spank Trump with the magazine.
“And I said, you know, ‘Give me that,’ and I just remember him going, ‘You wouldn’t.’ ‘Hand it over.’ And– so he did, and I was like, turn around, drop ’em,” she said.
She continued: “So he turned around and pulled his pants down a little — you know had underwear on and stuff and I just gave him a couple swats.”
Eventually, Clifford said Trump told her “‘Wow, you– you are special. You remind me of my daughter,'” and “‘You’re smart and beautiful, and a woman to be reckoned with, and I like you. I like you.'”
After using Trump’s bathroom later that night, Clifford said, she returned to Trump’s room to find him “perched” at the edge of his bed.
“I realized exactly what I’d gotten myself into. And I was like, ‘Ugh, here we go,” she said. “And I just felt like maybe– it was sort of– I had it coming for making a bad decision for going to someone’s room alone and I just heard the voice in my head, ‘well, you put yourself in a bad situation and bad things happen, so you deserve this.'”
Clifford wasn’t attracted to Trump and didn’t want to have sex with him, she said, but she answered affirmatively when Cooper asked if their sexual encounter was consensual. Trump didn’t use a condom, she said.
In response to Cohen’s acknowledgement of the $130,000 payment, Clifford’s former manager, Gina Rodriguez, said on Feb. 14 that “Everything is off now, and Stormy is going to tell her story.”
On Feb. 27, as NBC News first reported, Cohen won a temporary restraining order from a private arbitrator in an attempt to add pressure on Clifford. Cohen emailed it to Clifford’s attorney the next day.
A week later, on March 7, the White House appeared to acknowledge Trump’s involvement in that proceeding when press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters in a briefing that “this case had already been won in arbitration,” even though Trump is not listed by name in the NDA. In that document, both he and Clifford are referred to by pseudonyms — “David Dennison” and “Peggy Peterson,” respectively.
Trump was reportedly upset with Sanders’ comment.
A day earlier, on March 6, Clifford sued Trump, saying the NDA was invalid because the then-candidate never signed the document. The complaint also referred to what Clifford alleges was Cohen’s “bogus arbitration proceeding” to keep her quiet, a reference to the restraining order he’d won a week earlier.
All the while, two interviews Clifford gave years before signing the NDA appeared to corroborate her claims of an affair: a 2007 exchange with radio host Bubba the Love Sponge and the 2011 interview with In Touch magazine. A close friend of Clifford’s who is listed on the NDA, the porn photographer Keith Munyan, also told the Washington Post earlier this month that he listened in to phone calls between Clifford and Trump.
“He never asked me not to tell anyone,” Clifford told Cooper. “He called several times when I was in front of many people and I would be like, ‘Oh my God, he’s calling.'”
“They were like, ‘Shut up, the Donald?’ And I’d put him on speakerphone.”