Aaron Blake for WaPo:
The headline on the Wall Street Journal’s latest Stormy Daniels scoop is that Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s $130,000 payment to the porn star set off red flags and was reported to the Treasury Department. But what came next seems much more important.
The Journal is also reporting that Cohen couldn’t get a hold of Trump late in the process and that he later complained that Trump hadn’t reimbursed him for the payment to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford:
Mr. Cohen said he missed two deadlines earlier that month to make the $130,000 payment to Ms. Clifford because he couldn’t reach Mr. Trump in the hectic final days of the presidential campaign, the person said.
Ms. Clifford was owed the money in return for signing an agreement that bars her from discussing an alleged sexual encounter with Mr. Trump in 2006, people familiar the matter said.
After Mr. Trump’s victory, Mr. Cohen complained to friends that he had yet to be reimbursed for the payment to Ms. Clifford, the people said.
This may read like background used to fill out a story, but it is actually quite significant. These paragraphs represent the first time a major news outlet has reported that Cohen had spoken even behind the scenes about Trump being involved in the payment. Previously, the origins of the payment were more mysterious.