Nation

Porn star who claimed sexual encounter with Trump received hush money

NEW YORK — A former star of pornographic movies reportedly received a $130,000 payment a month before the 2016 election that was part of an agreement to keep her from publicly discussing a sexual encounter she claimed to have had with Donald Trump.

The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, reported that Michael D. Cohen, who was a top lawyer at the Trump Organization, arranged the payment to the woman, Stephanie Clifford, after her lawyer negotiated a nondisclosure agreement.

Clifford, who was billed as Stormy Daniels in her videos, said the encounter with Trump took place in July 2006 after a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe, The Journal reported. Trump married Melania Trump in 2005.

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In a statement to The Journal, Cohen said of the alleged sexual encounter that “President Trump once again vehemently denies any such occurrence as has Ms. Daniels.”

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He added, “You have attempted to perpetuate this false narrative for over a year; a narrative that has been consistently denied by all parties since at least 2011.”

The payment was made to Clifford through her lawyer, Keith Davidson, with funds sent to Davidson’s client-trust account at City National Bank in Los Angeles, The Journal reported.

Cohen also sent a two-paragraph statement by e-mail addressed “To whom it may concern” and signed by “Stormy Daniels” denying a “sexual and/or romantic affair” with Trump, The Journal said.

“Rumors that I have received hush money from Donald Trump are completely false,” the statement said.

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Clifford could not be immediately reached by e-mail or phone on Friday. In addition to appearing in sexually explicit movies, she also had a small appearance in the 2005 movie “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.”

The payment appears to have been made in the final stretch of the campaign, around the same time that a recording of Trump making vulgar comments about women while filming a segment for “Access Hollywood” surfaced, in a report by The Washington Post roughly a month before the presidential election.

In that recording, Trump boasted of sexual assaults and celebrity entitlement, and the ensuing reaction led to a number of women coming forward with allegations of groping, kissing and other sexual misconduct.

Trump has denied all allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct and apologized at the time for his remarks on the “Access Hollywood” tape, calling them “locker-room banter.”

In a separate development, Democratic leaders said Friday that Trump’s use of racially charged language to discuss immigrants would hurt efforts to reach a compromise on legislation to protect some young immigrants from deportation

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The latest immigration controversy comes a week before the current government spending authorization is due to expire on Jan. 19.

Although Republicans hold control of Congress, their thin margin in the Senate means Democratic votes will be needed for any stopgap funding measure as well as for a broader budget agreement.

Already, Congress has had to pass three short-term extensions of spending authority to buy time to agree on funding priorities for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1.

Democratic leaders have insisted that Congress protect the young immigrants by passing a law renewing DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program initiated by President Obama.

After telling lawmakers earlier this week that he is willing to sign whatever compromise on immigration they presented, Trump rejected a plan worked out by a bipartisan group of six senators, and savaged the proposal Friday on Twitter as “a big step backwards.”

After reports that the president used offensive language during the White House meeting, the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus and the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee said they plan to introduce a censure resolution against Trump over his ‘‘bigoted fear mongering’’ about Haiti and Africa.

Democratic Representatives Cedric Richmond of Louisiana and Jerrold Nadler of New York said they were deeply troubled by Trump’s comments referring to African nations as ‘‘shithole’’ countries during the meeting on immigration.

Richmond and Nadler said the countries Trump insulted ‘‘produce immigrants that are remarkable and make significant contributions to our country.’’

Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, said all elected officials, including the president, must respect that people from all over the world have ‘‘made America great.’’

McCain said respecting all people ‘‘is the essence of American patriotism.’’ He did not specifically mention Trump or the profanity, but he used a variant of Trump’s campaign theme, ‘‘Make America Great Again.’’

Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein said it is Trump’s right to ‘‘make whatever remark he chooses.’’ But Goldstein said US diplomats have an obligation to represent the country well throughout the world and the president’s remarks will not ‘‘change what we do.’’