- The Washington Times - Monday, March 26, 2018

The White House doubled down Monday on President Trump’s insistence that he never had sex with Stormy Daniels, while she escalated her legal battle by claiming the president’s personal attorney defamed her.

“The president strongly, clearly and has consistently denied these underlying claims,” said White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah. “The only person who’s been inconsistent is the one making the claims.”

The adult film actress, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, said on CBS’ “60 Minutes” on Sunday night that she had sex with Mr. Trump in 2006 at a celebrity golf tournament in Nevada. She said she was paid $130,000 from Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, in October 2016 to keep quiet about the encounter before the presidential election. Mr. Cohen also issued statements on her behalf in which she denied there was any affair.

The show attracted 22 million viewers, the largest audience for the program in about a decade.

The White House wouldn’t say whether Mr. Trump watched the broadcast. The president didn’t comment specifically about Ms. Daniels on Twitter on Monday, but complained about “So much Fake News.”

“Never been more voluminous or more inaccurate. But through it all, our country is doing great!” the president tweeted.

Ms. Daniels asserted in court papers filed Monday that Mr. Cohen defamed her by insinuating that she lied about the sexual encounter with Mr. Trump. She pointed to a statement by Mr. Cohen last month, when he said, “Just because something isn’t true doesn’t mean that it can’t cause you harm or damage.”

The document filed in U.S. District Court for Central California amends her lawsuit seeking to declare null and void a nondisclosure agreement that she signed in 2016. The amended complaint also says the payment by Mr. Cohen violated federal laws limiting campaign donations and requiring that those donations be publicly reported.

Earlier Monday, Mr. Cohen filed a cease-and-desist order against Ms. Clifford over her “60 Minutes” interview.

On the television program, Ms. Daniels also said an unknown man threatened her in a parking lot in 2011, telling her to “leave Trump alone” and to keep quiet about the story.

Mr. Shah wouldn’t say whether the president watched her interview. He confirmed that Mr. Trump had dinner with Mr. Cohen on Saturday night at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.

Asked why the president’s lawyer would pay Ms. Daniels if her accusations weren’t true, Mr. Shah replied, “False charges are settled out of court all the time, and this is nothing outside the ordinary.”

He said the president does not believe that Ms. Daniels was ever threatened about the case.

“He just doesn’t believe that,” Mr. Shah said. “There’s nothing to corroborate her claim. He’s denied the accusations that she made last night and has been consistent in doing so. She has not.”

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