Trump's Stormy Daniels Testimony Rant: Posted and Deleted

High-profile trial unfolds with Stormy Daniels' testimony.

by Nouman Rasool
Trump's Stormy Daniels Testimony Rant: Posted and Deleted
© Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

In sensational developments, former President Donald Trump was back in the limelight as Stormy Daniels deposed in his ongoing criminal hush-money trial. Trump's first reaction, expressed in a now-deleted social media post, alluded to the whirlwind the trial was proving to be.

Enraged by the prosecution's calling of Daniels as a witness, Trump had claimed his legal team was given no opportunity to prepare—lamenting the unfairness and the violation of his First Amendment rights—however, the post was up for such a short time that it almost felt as though, in response to legal constraints, he had been acting with special care as to the sensitivity of the situation.

The incident also marked the first time Trump and Daniels met in person since news broke in 2018 about their alleged affair, to herald a much-awaited court showdown.

Daniels Testifies Amid Courtroom Tensions

Judge Juan Merchan's ruling that would allow Daniels to testify about her contact with Trump but exclude explicit testimony presaged a rancorous day in the courtroom.

Over repeated objections from Mr. Trump's defense team, Ms. Daniels told jurors of meeting Mr. Trump at a golf tournament and their subsequent exchanges. As Daniels testified, Trump had an irritable body language and appeared deeply uncomfortable; it indicated just how important this testimony was for the prosecution.

Merchan's scolding of the prosecution and Daniels as being too explicit shows just how controversial the trial was. The allegations at the center of this trial are campaign finance violations; Trump is being tried for committing a number of felonies in regard to hush-money payments made to women, including Daniels, while he was on the campaign trail in the 2016 presidential election.

Witnesses in the person of former Trump Organization executives Jeffrey McConney and David Pecker offered testimony that revealed the complex lattice of financial transactions. In his insistence that the reimbursements to his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, were legal, Trump had served to emphasize just how much this moment was one battle of narrative and accountability.

The high-stakes trial proceeded on Monday under intense scrutiny, to which Trump himself has long been contemptuous with his previous gag orders. All eyes are on the former president as he undergoes his legal comeuppance with this case.