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The 60 Minutes interview with adult film actress Stormy Daniels on Sunday night, which gave the show record-high ratings, was a major focus of Monday afternoon’s White House press briefing, at which deputy press secretary Raj Shah was peppered with questions about what Daniels told interviewer Anderson Cooper.
“With respect to that interview, the president strongly, clearly and has consistently denied these underlying claims, and the only person who’s been inconsistent is the one making the claims,” Shah said.
Shah relayed that Trump doesn’t think any of the claims made by Daniels (real name Stephanie Clifford) on Sunday night are accurate. During the highly anticipated interview, Daniels claimed to have had a consensual sexual encounter with the president in 2006, and alleged that she was physically threatened in 2011 — though she wouldn’t say who did the threatening. “There’s nothing to corroborate her claim,” he said.
He wouldn’t answer a question about whether Trump watched the interview. “I’m not going to get into what the president may or may not have seen,” he said, though he mentioned that clips of the interview were ubiquitous on cable news on Monday morning.
A friend of the president, Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy, also wouldn’t say whether Trump watched the interview but conveyed that Trump thinks that Daniels’ claims are a “political hoax.”
On Monday afternoon, a reporter asked Shah if the Trump campaign violated campaign finance law when Trump lawyer Michael Cohen made a $130,000 payment to Daniels for her silence in 2016. Shah said the “White House didn’t engage in any wrongdoing” with respect to the payment.
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