President Donald Trump made his first public statements about the Stormy Daniels scandal Thursday, denying he knew anything about the $130,000 his personal lawyer paid the adult film star before the 2016 election.
It’s the latest development in what Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti says is going to be a long game.
“We’re chess players, we’re not playing tic-tac-toe,” he told Cheddar in an interview Thursday. “We’re in it for the long haul.”
Avenatti said his next step will be to file a motion against private arbitration next week.
“We’re very confident that this matter is going to remain in an open court for the people to see the facts. We’re going to file our opposition on Monday,” said Avenatti.
He’s referring to President Trump’s motion from earlier this week to take the case out of the public sphere and into closed proceedings. On top of that, Avenatti wants to depose the president and his lawyer Michael Cohen.
“I’m highly confident that that’s going to be granted,” he said.
If he gets his wish, both Trump and Cohen would have to explain under oath who knew what, and at what point in the timeline of events leading up to now.
Daniels, an adult film star whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, claims she had a sexual relationship with the now-president in 2006.
Shortly before the 2016 election, Cohen allegedly paid her $130,000 in hush money to keep the affair under wraps and had her sign a non-disclosure agreement.
Last month, Clifford sued Trump to get out of the NDA, claiming it is invalid because the president never signed it.
Her case reached a fever pitch when she sat down with for an interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes” last month, drawing in the highest ratings for the news show in a decade. She revealed salacious details about her encounter with Trump and that his team threatened her to keep her quiet.
Before the episode aired, Avenatti tweeted out an image of a disc, hinting that it contained damaging information on Trump.
“It was a warning shot to Michael Cohen, and it was a warning shot to the President,” he explained.
“If they tried to come out after the ‘60 Minutes’ piece and claim that my client was lying about the affair, about the relationship etc., there were going to be serious consequences. And you know what? The warning shot worked.”
Avenatti is also currently vetting the claims of eight other women who say they have NDAs with Trump over relationships.
“This isn’t politics, it’s about a search for the truth. It’s about the American public’s right to know.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re on the left, on the right, or in the center.”
For the full interview, click here.