Donald Trump Labels Daniels Story 'Campaign Disaster'

Cohen details crisis talks in Trump's 2016 campaign.

by Nouman Rasool
Donald Trump Labels Daniels Story 'Campaign Disaster'
© Kevin Winter/Getty Images

In a trial on the hush-money case against the former U.S. president, Michael Cohen, former attorney and close confidante to one Donald Trump, gave the critical testimony on a Monday. This is, however, a landmark in that it is the first criminal prosecution to be given to an American president.

Cohen, a central figure in the Manhattan district attorney's case, took the stand this week, in what appeared to be the prosecution's last week of presenting evidence. Prosecutors are expected to rest their case before the week concludes.

It was through his testimony that Cohen unraveled a play of events and occurrences that bring into play the depth of dealing with the claims made against Trump. In the earlier part of the day, Cohen had narrated the frightened reaction of Trump upon the surfacing of the Stormy Daniels allegations that had sprung up in the public domain over the airing of the controversial "Access Hollywood" tape.

He said that Trump was worried at the time about the likely impact of the allegations on women voters; he apparently commented, "This is a disaster, total disaster. Women are going to hate me." Cohen also says he had discussions with Trump about Daniels after a gossip website reported on a s---- encounter between Trump and the adult film actress that happened at a 2011 celebrity golf tournament.

The president had described Daniels, whom he'd met at a celebrity golf tournament, as "hot" and said Cohen should "resolve" the situation.

Cohen's Damning Testimony

Adding to the day's explosive revelations, Cohen also disclosed his role in managing negative press against Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.

This included a recorded conversation with Trump about financing a payment to suppress a story, which Cohen affirmed was real and unaltered despite claims from the defense about potential tampering. As Cohen said, he has portrayed a Trump campaign very much working to control damaging stories—often in catch-and-kill, or paying for the rights to unflattering stories so they'd never see the light of day.

He provided rare details about the mechanics of a campaign and his personal dealings with Trump, and also how Trump approaches crisis management. Cohen was once famously quoted as having said he would "take a bullet" for Trump but has since flipped to become one of the most problematic witnesses for the defense because of his insider knowledge and erstwhile loyalty to Trump.

It is this background that is likely to make his testimony effective in the outcome of a trial that has riveted the attention of the nation, exposing the most secretive intricacies surrounding one of the most controversial figures in modern American political history.

Donald Trump