Newly revealed court documents again show that Donald Trump lied outright when he claimed not to know of a $130,000 hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, with whom Trump is accused of having had an affair while Melania was home with the young Barron, to buy her silence during the final month of the 2016 presidential campaign.
Trump not only knew about the payments, but he also knew from the very beginning. According to the FBI's now-unredacted 2018 search warrant against Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, Cohen exchanged a flurry of emails with Trump, aide Hope Hicks, and National Enquirer figures immediately after the release of the Access Hollywood tapes in which Trump was recorded bragging about sexually assaulting women, an apparent newly urgent effort to bury stories on at least two separate Trump affairs. But more critically, the FBI was able to determine that Cohen spoke on the phone with Trump twice, on Oct. 26; Cohen then moved to create the shell companies used to pay Daniels "less than thirty minutes after speaking with Trump."
Cohen pleaded guilty to breaking campaign finance law over these payments. Donald Trump was himself referred to as Individual 1 in court documents describing the crime; we now know why prosecutors were confident that Trump himself directed Cohen's acts.
Despite this, it seems no further charges will be pursued. Not against Trump, despite his clear role in the crimes; and not against Hicks, who told investigators that she was involved in no conversations about Daniels, despite the FBI's record of multiple calls between Trump, Cohen, and herself during the scurry to arrange the payments. Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen has himself expressed repeated willingness to testify about Trump's role in those acts; American Media head David Pecker was given immunity by prosecutors in their efforts to gather evidence about Trump's involvement.
Despite what appears to be unassailable evidence that Trump himself directed the crime, the Department of Justice is dropping the case. No explanation has been given.