President Donald Trump’s favorite TV network reportedly learned about his alleged relationship with adult film star Stephanie Clifford shortly before the 2016 presidential election, when the then-Republican nominee was busy touting his racist, xenophobic and Islamophobic agenda to his far-right fan base.
However, instead of running what could have been perhaps the biggest news story of the election cycle (apart from the "Access Hollywood" leak, of course), Fox News decided to kill it.
As The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month, Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen paid Clifford, who goes by the stage name Stormy Daniels, $130,000 so she would stay mum about a rendezvous she had with the business mogul about 10 years ago.
In a somewhat shocking twist, the CNN revealed that Fox News had been sitting on the explosive story all this time.
Fox News reporter Diana Falzone, who is currently embroiled in a legal battle with her employer over alleged gender discrimination, filed a story linking Trump to Clifford back in October 2016, according to sources familiar with the matter.
She was aware about the settlement and even had a statement from the actress' manager Gina Rodriguez, where she confirmed the sexual encounter between her client and the soon-to-be-president, allegedly took place just one year after Trump married his current wife, first lady Melania Trump.
Unfortunately, the story was never published.
“She had the story and Fox killed it,” said a source.
It is important to note the conservative network has not outright denied the allegations.
“Like many other outlets, we were working to report the story of Stephanie Clifford's account in October 2016 about then-Presidential candidate Donald Trump and a possible payment by Trump lawyer Michael Cohen,” Fox News editor in chief Noah Kotch told CNN. “In doing our due diligence, we were unable to verify all of the facts and publish a story.”
While Falzone has not commented on the matter as of yet, a piece published in the Slate claims the alleged sexual relationship between Clifford and Trump lasted “nearly a year.”
The publication’s editor-in-chief, Jacob Weisberg, said the actress told him she first met Trump in 2006 during a celebrity golf tournament in Nevada. He also claimed she texted him “an unsigned two-page document spelling out this arrangement,” which appeared to refer to Clifford as Peggy Peterson and another person as David Dennison to “shield the real names of the parties.”
“Daniels said she was talking to me and sharing these details because Trump was stalling on finalizing the confidentiality agreement and paying her,” Weisberg explained. “Given her experience with Trump, she suspected he would stall her until after the election, and then refuse to sign or pay up.”
It’s certainly an interesting development, given that Cohen earlier shared an image of a letter allegedly signed by Clifford, which claimed she never received any money from Trump or his people.
“Rumors that I have received hush money from Donald Trump are completely false,” read the undated letter. “If indeed I did have a relationship with Donald Trump, trust me, you wouldn't be reading about it in the news, you would be reading about it in my book. But the fact of the matter is, these stories are not true.”
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters, Carlos Barria