Why This Woman (No, Not Stormy Daniels) Has the Best Chance of Destroying Trump

It’s currently impossible to avoid Stormy Daniels’ name in the headlines (or her real name, Stephanie Clifford). Whether it’s sordid details about her affair with Donald Trump in 2006 or comments on her personal life, it’s easy to see why people are speculating that Daniels may be Trump’s downfall. But now a different woman is coming forward, and she may end up being much more dangerous for him.

As it turns out, Trump may have been having an affair with a woman named Karen McDougal while he was seeing Daniels … all while he had a wife and newborn son. Here’s why McDougal, not Daniels, may have the best chance of destroying Trump.

Who is Karen McDougal?

Karen McDougal attends Playboy’s Super Saturday Night Party at Sagamore Hotel on February 6, 2010 in Miami Beach, Florida. | Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Playboy

Karen McDougal was once a nursery school teacher who was “discovered” during a swimsuit competition. She went on to become one of the most popular Playboy Playmates of the 1990s, once claiming the title of runner-up of “the sexiest Playmate of the decade.” But it was 2006 when she allegedly had a 10-month affair with Donald Trump.

Next: According to McDougal, this is how the affair started.

The McDougal and Trump scandal

Karen McDougal (left) with Hugh Hefner at the Playboy Mansion in 2000. | Vince Bucci/Newsmakers/Getty Images

Recently, McDougal gave her first televised interview about the affair. She said that after she and Trump were intimate for the first time, he offered her money, which she turned down. She had genuine feelings for Trump and slept with him because she liked him. Despite that awkward encounter, she went back for more, and they began a 10-month affair. The relationship lasted until McDougal could no longer bear the guilt of betraying Melania (and Trump uttered some racially insensitive comments she didn’t like).

Next: In some ways, McDougal’s story and Daniels’ claims are similar.

The tale of two affairs

Stormy Daniels and Donald Trump

Stormy Daniels was also invited to the launch of Trump Vodka in 2007. | Chad Buchanan/Getty Images

From the timeline (2006-2007) to the steamy details (trysts at the Beverly Hills Hotel), Trump’s affairs with Daniels and McDougal sound similar. And according to both ladies, they were each paid to keep quiet before the 2016 election. So how could it be that McDougal’s story could cause Trump more damage?

Next: It’s all about the ways they were paid.

The hush money

Before Melania, Trump loved being seen with different women. | Jeff Haynes/AFP/Getty Images)

According to a recent article on ThinkProgress, it all comes down to the payment. Daniels was paid $130,000 through a shell corporation set up by Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen. But McDougal’s payment came from a corporation. She was paid $150,000 in August 2016 by American Media Inc., the parent company of the National Enquirer.

Direct corporate donations of this nature are illegal whether they are reported or not. McDougal claims her contract was invalid for that reason — the purpose of the contract, a corporate donation to benefit the Trump campaign, was illegal.

Next: The wording in the agreements matter, too. 

The two agreements

Karen McDougal strikes a pose as a pinup girl at the Playboy Mansion, 2000. | Vince Bucci/Newsmakers/Getty Images

There’s also a matter of the type of the agreements each woman signed. Daniels signed a non-disclosure agreement, while McDougal signed a contract to talk about her life. If Daniels’ agreement is valid, it means she’s not allowed to talk about her relationship with Trump (the argument there is that the agreement isn’t valid).

McDougal’s contract, however, allows her the right to tell her story in response to “legitimate press inquires regarding the facts of her relationship with Donald Trump.” This makes a judge much more likely to rule in McDougal’s favor.

Next: Cohen’s suspicious role in it all.

Suspicion surrounding Michael Cohen

Trump's Personal Attorney Michael Cohen Meets With House Intelligence Cmte

Cohen, Trump’s lawyer has gotten himself stuck in the middle of the scandal. | Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Michael Cohen is Trump’s longtime personal lawyer. His role in Daniels’ case is certainly suspicious, as he allegedly wired Daniels her money from his own personal funds and complained about a lack of reimbursement. But Cohen’s involvement in McDougal’s case is even more interesting, as he wasn’t a party to the agreement and didn’t openly negotiate for either side.

McDougal is claiming that her lawyer, Keith Davidson, kept Cohen privately appraised of the situation, alleging that Davidson defrauded her and was secretly looking out for the interests of Cohen and Trump.

Next: Why now?

McDougal has actually spoken up before

McDougal spoke about her affair with Trump in 2011. | Cherie Steinberg/Getty Images

People might wonder why McDougal is choosing to speak up now, especially since she is a self-proclaimed Republican who voted for Trump. And she’s still claiming she cares for Trump and never had any intention of hurting him or Melania.

In 2011, she told her story to The New Yorker, but it was never published. According to former employees, the company’s chairman and chief executive, David Pecker, who is a personal friend of Trump, often bought stories with no intention of running them so he could hold the exclusive rights. But when a former friend of hers started talking about her affair with Trump on social media, McDougal decided it was time to come forward.

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