During the White House news briefing on Wednesday, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders acknowledged that some sort of arbitration proceeding took place between President Trump and adult film star Stormy Daniels — a revelation that seemingly confirms Trump’s involvement in a hush money payment made to her days before the 2016 election.
Asked if Trump approved “of the payment that was made in October 2016 by his longtime lawyer and adviser Michael Cohen,” Sanders said, “This case has already been won in arbitration, and anything beyond that, I would refer you to the president’s outside counsel.”
Later, a reporter followed up on Sanders’ comment and asked, “You said that there’s arbitration that’s already been won — by whom and when?”
“By the president’s personal attorneys, and for details on that I’d refer you to them,” Sanders said. “I can share that the arbitration was won in the president’s favor.”
If Trump in fact won some sort of arbitration procedure against Daniels, that indicates there is some sort of agreement between Trump and Daniels, because if Trump was never involved with her, there’d be nothing to arbitrate.
However, at other points during Tuesday’s briefing, Sanders said the president denies accusations he was ever involved with Daniels at all.
“Look, the president has addressed these directly and made very well clear that none of these allegations are true,” she said. (Trump’s spokespeople previously said it was “absolutely, unequivocally” untrue that Daniels and Trump had a relationship.)
Those statements taken together are incoherent. It can’t both be the case that Trump won some sort of arbitration proceeding against Daniels, but also never had any sort of agreement with her.
On Tuesday night, news broke that Daniels filed a lawsuit against Trump to nullify an nondisclosure agreement surrounding her relationship with the president. The lawsuit mentions a “bogus arbitration proceeding” that took place last month.