Federal prosecutors in New York have evidence that President Donald Trump was involved in “nearly every step” of making hush-money payments to women claiming to have had sexual affairs with him ahead of the 2016 presidential election, according to The Wall Street Journal.
> The newspaper, citing dozens of interviews and documents, also reported that Trump may have violated federal campaign finance laws through his participation in the deals.
> Trump has denied knowing about a $130,000 payment made to Stormy Daniels, an adult film star and director who alleges she had sex with Trump in 2006.
> Daniels is currently suing Trump and Michael Cohen, his former personal attorney, in connection with a nondisclosure agreement barring her from discussing the alleged tryst. Trump has denied he had sex with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.
In August, Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations, saying a candidate for political office instructed him to make payments to two women with the intent of influencing the 2016 election.
> The Journal reported that Trump, as a presidential candidate, "directed deals in phone calls and meetings" related to the women with Cohen. The U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan, which prosecuted Cohen, has reportedly also collected evidence of Trump's involvement in the agreements.
The president’s part in making hush payments to Daniels, as well as former Playboy model Karen McDougal, were detailed in an indictment that prosecutors were looking to file against Cohen prior to his guilty plea, CBNC said.
Cohen reportedly has been cooperating with Manhattan prosecutors as well as special counsel Robert Mueller since entering his guilty plea.
> "Mr. Cohen has also described to prosecutors his discussions with Mr. Trump and a Trump Organization executive about how to pay Ms. Clifford without leaving the candidate's fingerprints on the deal," the Journal article said.
> Under campaign finance law, companies and individuals are barred from contributing more than $2,700 to a federal candidate. And donations of any kind must be disclosed.