A Stormy Week In The Hush Money Trial | Crooked Media
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May 09, 2024
What A Day
A Stormy Week In The Hush Money Trial

In This Episode

  • Adult film star Stormy Daniels took the stand this week in the hush money trial against former President Donald Trump. And let’s just say she didn’t hold back from describing what went down between them. We spoke with attorney Norm Eisen, author of “Trying Trump: A Guide to His First Election Interference Criminal Trial,” to get his impressions of Trump’s outlook in the New York criminal case and review the other cases the former President faces.And in headlines: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responds to Biden’s threat to cut off some military aid to Israel, universities shun U.N. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, and Barron Trump is selected as a delegate-at-large to the Republican National Convention.
Show Notes:




Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Friday, May 10th, I’m Tre’vell Anderson. 


Priyanka Aribindi: And I’m Priyanka Aribindi and this is What a Day, the show where we’re excited for The Office reboot, even if it is just about how journalism is dying. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Okay, but they not talking about us, right Priyanka? 


Priyanka Aribindi: They better not be. Podcasting is supposed to be forever. I expect to have this job until the day I die. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Literally. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I’ve never leaving. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Shout out to the pension plan. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I don’t know about it, but uh I hope I’m in on it. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Same. 


Priyanka Aribindi: It’s fine. [laughter] [music break] Oan today’s show, universities shun UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield from commencement ceremonies. Plus Barron Trump dips his toe into politics. 


Tre’vell Anderson: But first, it was quite a week for Barron’s father, Donald Trump. In addition to major developments in his cases in Georgia and Florida especially, all eyes were on the former president’s hush money trial. That’s because adult film star Stormy Daniels, who says she and Trump had an affair in 2006, took the stand. And let’s just say she didn’t hold back in describing what she says went down between them. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, Tre’vell. I would ask you to tell us more, but this is a family friendly program, so we will not be doing that. The details are everywhere though, so if you want to know more, a quick Google search will catch you up. Maybe just don’t do it in the workplace.


Tre’vell Anderson: Probably not. Now the trial is not being broadcast, so all we have to go off of is folks who were in the courtroom and lucky for us, friend of the show Norm Eisen has been there for the entire case thus far. Norm was special counsel to the House Judiciary Committee majority during the impeachment proceedings against Trump in 2019 and 2020. He was also special counsel to former President Barack Obama on ethics and government reform, and his latest book is titled Trying Trump: A Guide to His First Election Interference Criminal Trial. So he knows what he’s talking about. I called Norm shortly after proceedings wrapped up Thursday, and started by asking him to set the scene for us by describing the mood in the courtroom this week. Take a listen to our chat. 


Norm Eisen: Stormy was definitely the star of the week, there’s no doubt about that. The question was always going to be how would she hold up on cross-examination? And now we know the answer. She gave as good as she got, this was ground zero, this 2006 encounter of the whole case. It was not a perfect testimony by any means. It was messy at times we had TMI, the judge said so. There’s stuff we didn’t need to know, but the jury could see what would have happened after Access Hollywood, if this story had come out, it would have been a mess and it would have been on Trump. 


Tre’vell Anderson: As you just mentioned, this case is about allegedly fraudulent financial records that aimed to cover up this hush money payment to Stormy Daniels, but she was never in a position to know anything about those internal Trump organization documents. Can you tease out a little bit for us why it matters what she had to say? 


Norm Eisen: I’ve been going to court for over 30 years. A jury wants to understand the full story, and they would have felt cheated if they hadn’t met Stormy. But another defense approach would have been not to fight over the meeting and alleged sexual relationship of Stormy and Donald Trump. But just to ask the question implied by your question to me, Tre’vell. Wait a minute, Miss Daniels. You didn’t talk to Donald Trump at any point in 2016 when these supposed contributions were made. You don’t know what he was thinking. Well, what about the Trump business records? You don’t know anything about any fake documents in the Trump org. You don’t know anything about how the Trump Organization keeps its documents, do you? And just hammer, hammer, hammer that the prosecution has not yet proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt because we don’t have enough intent evidence. That’s what we need Michael Cohen for, he’s coming next. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Gotcha. Now, another thing that happened. Trump has been warned that he may go to jail if he can’t stop violating the gag order. He’s done that officially ten times so far. I wonder how you see this game of chicken between Trump and Justice Juan Merchan playing out. 


Norm Eisen: Well, Trump tried just before we left court to get the gag order lifted because he wants to defend himself against Stormy. All this press coverage and he can’t defend himself. But the judge was having none of it. Judge made the point that yeah, she may have finished her testimony, but there’s other witnesses here and other people involved in the case, and they get very intimidated. And the prosecution said a document custodian was nervous about coming and testifying because that person was afraid Trump was going to attack them. So as of now, Trump is obeying the gag order and the judge refused to lift it or change it. To let Trump counter punch with Stormy. We’ll see if Trump loses it. So far, he’s tiptoed up to the line. I think the judge has made clear if there’s one more violation, Trump is going to go to jail. 


Tre’vell Anderson: I’m willing to bet money that he will violate the gag order again. But you’re right. We will see. We’re about three weeks into this trial. There is at least a couple more to go. How do you assess the case that’s been presented so far? Do you think we are headed toward a conviction? 


Norm Eisen: I do, I think the case has come in well, probably the Stormy testimony was some of the bumpiest we got. I think the prosecution is proving its case. I think they’re very close to achieving proof beyond a reasonable doubt. And I expect the testimony of Michael Cohen will deliver it. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Now, two of Trump’s other cases made headlines this week. His election interference case in Georgia and the classified documents case in Florida. Can you remind us what happened with the, those two cases?


Norm Eisen: In the classified documents case in Florida, Judge Aileen Cannon, who has got to be one of the worst judges in the country, is refusing to move the case in a reasonable fashion. She’s let a bunch of deadlines pile up. There’s no excuse for it. She’s kicked over the May trial date that was tentatively set on the calendar. Is it pro-Trump bias? He appointed her in the last days of his administration. Or is it sheer incompetence? Is she overwhelmed? Is she scared of the political violence that Trump can trigger of having a target on her, like on some of these other judges and prosecutors? Whatever the explanation is, she has baselessly refused to try this case. It’s not that complicated of a case. It should be set down at the latest for trial this summer, after we finish the Bragg case in a couple weeks here in Manhattan. But it’s not happening. And the other thing that happened this week is that an appellate court in Georgia said it would hear an appeal of the trial court there. Judge McAfee, who held that Fani Willis, the Fulton County district attorney, had no conflict because of her relationship with Nathan Wade. And the appellate court said, well, we’re going to hear that case. Now we’re waiting for the other shoe to drop in Georgia. Is there going to be a stay? But until there is a stay that’s entered and there may not be because there’s no legal basis to recuse Fani Willis. Until there’s a stay that’s entered, the Georgia proceedings are continuing. And then, of course, we’re waiting for the big one, the 2020 federal election interference case that’s up at the Supreme Court. And we’ll see if we get a ruling from them. 


Tre’vell Anderson: That was my conversation with Norm Eisen, author of Trying Trump: A Guide to His First Election Interference Criminal Trial. It’s the latest for now. We’ll get to some headlines in a moment, but if you like our show, subscribe and share with your friends. We’ll be back after some ads. [music break]




Priyanka Aribindi: Let’s get to some headlines. 


[sung] Headlines. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded Thursday to President Biden’s threat to cut off offensive military aid to Israel if the country goes ahead with its planned ground invasion into Rafah. In a statement, Netanyahu struck a defiant tone, saying, quote, “If we have to stand alone, we will stand alone.” According to Israel’s top military spokesman, who spoke to reporters on Thursday, the country does not need additional U.S. armaments for its planned military operation. And against this extremely tense backdrop, Gaza cease fire talks were put on pause, with delegations from Hamas and Israel leaving Cairo without a deal. A senior Israeli official told ABC news that Israel’s requirement that it be allowed to operate throughout Gaza against Hamas was a sticking point that prevented the two sides from coming to an agreement. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Xavier University of Louisiana has canceled a commencement speech by U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield, in what administrators said was a move to avoid, quote, “disruptions.” When Thomas-Greenfield’s speech was announced last Sunday, it drew opposition from some students at the HBCU, who cited her votes against three U.N. resolutions calling for a cease fire in Gaza. In a Wednesday night email announcing the cancellation, Xavier’s president described it as a, quote, “regrettable conclusion.” However, student activists who condemned the US’s support for Israel’s actions in Gaza celebrated. Another commencement speech Thomas-Greenfield was set to deliver at University of Vermont was also axed this week amid student outcry. 


Priyanka Aribindi: It is so interesting to me that they announced this on Sunday. This wasn’t months ago. Like this is in the middle of the context of all these campus protests widespread against this war. It’s not surprising in the slightest that this is what they had to do. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. I would like to say, as somebody whose HBCU alma mater is not listening to its students right now, Morehouse College invited Joe Biden to speak. And students are also–


Priyanka Aribindi: Right. 


Tre’vell Anderson: –speaking out against that. My alma mater’s president [laughing] is not listening to them. So I would say shout out to Xavier University’s president, especially. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Faculty members at the University of Southern California, voted yesterday to censure the university’s president and provost over their response to student led pro-Palestinian protests. 93 people were arrested at those protests last month, most of whom were students. The demonstrations also led USC administrators to cancel the school’s mainstage commencement. The USC Academic Senate, which represents faculty, wrote in a resolution accompanying the vote that there is, quote, “widespread dissatisfaction and concern among the faculty about administrative decisions and communication” related to student protests. According to the LA Times, faculty also discussed whether they should vote to express no confidence in USC president Carol Folt, but decided against it. 


Tre’vell Anderson: The state of Utah set up a tip line to encourage residents to snitch on trans people who violate the state’s public bathroom law. Trans activists and allies responded to this by flooding the line with thousands of fake reports, rendering the whole thing as useless in reality as it was cruel and wrongheaded in conception. Even the state auditor, tasked with following up these calls accused the legislature of taking a, quote, “ham handed approach.” Prank calls for good. We love to see it. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Barron Trump was selected as a Florida delegate at large for the Republican National Convention. Barron, who turned 18 in March, is making his first move into politics, joining half siblings Don junior, Eric, and Tiffany, of all people. Surprise, surprise as delegates. This is big news for Barron, but it’s bigger news for Tiffany. So happy for you, girl. The job should be fairly easy since the GOP literally had no party platform the last time Trump ran in 2020. Barron, you are young. There is still time to save yourself. Go rogue. 


Tre’vell Anderson: To freedom. Okay, Barron. Okay. To freedom. [laughter]


Priyanka Aribindi: Precisely, yes. [laughter] There’s nothing I’d love to see more. And those are the headlines. 




Tre’vell Anderson: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Prank call Utah’s transphobic tip line and tell your friends to listen. 


Priyanka Aribindi: And if you are into reading and not just any written document besides Stormy Daniels very graphic deposition like me, What a Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Priyanka Aribindi. 


Tre’vell Anderson: I’m Tre’vell Anderson. 


[spoken together] And join the resistance Barron. 


Priyanka Aribindi: You know you want to. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Listen Beloved. You are the future. You could change things, Barron. You really could. 


Priyanka Aribindi: He wants to skip your high school graduation, Barron. Just remember that. He’s going to a fundraiser instead. [laughter] 


Tre’vell Anderson: What a Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Our associate producers are Raven Yamamoto and Natalie Bettendorf. We have production help today from Michell Eloy, Greg Walters and Julia Claire. Our showrunner is Erica Morrison, and our executive producer is Adriene Hill. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.