President Donald Trump directed his son Eric and former personal attorney Michael Cohen to coordinate a legal effort to keep porn star Stormy Daniels from publicly describing her alleged tryst with the real estate magnate turned politician, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
The Journal, citing people familiar with the events, said the president instructed Cohen in February to seek a restraining order that would prevent Daniels from talking to the media. Trump also told his then-lawyer to coordinate his efforts with Eric Trump, the president's second-oldest son, according to the newspaper. Eric Trump then enlisted a Trump Organization lawyer to help with the paperwork, the report added.
Trump suggested in a phone call that he would cover the costs for the legal action, saying, "I'll take care of everything," the Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the conversation.
An outside lawyer involved in the legal efforts against Daniels had said that Eric Trump made the request to file arbitration documents against Daniels in late February, people familiar with the matter told the Journal. Eric Trump was also reportedly involved in drafting a response to news outlets asking about the arbitration in March.
Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. are running the Trump Organization while their father serves as president. The company declined to comment to the Journal, while a person close to the situation told the newspaper that Eric Trump was acting as the president's son and not as a Trump Organization executive.
A month after Trump told Cohen to formulate a legal response to Daniels, she shared her account on CBS' "60 Minutes." In her new memoir, which was published Tuesday, Daniels writes that she recorded an impromptu last will and testament after allegedly receiving a threat against her daughter.
Michael Avenatti, Daniels' attorney and a vocal critic of the president, said on Twitter that the Journal's report "describes what we have been saying for months and what Trump and Cohen denied repeatedly."
Trump has denied having a sexual encounter with Daniels, which allegedly happened not long after his wife, Melania, gave birth to his youngest son. The president has admitted to reimbursing Cohen for $130,000 in hush payments to the adult film star and director. The WSJ first reported on the payment, which came before Election Day 2016, in January.
Cohen pleaded guilty to several federal crimes in August. He said Trump directed him to coordinate hush payments – "for the principal purpose of influencing the election" — to ensure the silence of Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal, who also alleged that she had a sexual relationship with Trump. The president has denied that relationship, as well.
Daniels is suing Trump and Cohen, arguing that the hush agreement isn't valid since Trump himself didn't sign it.
The Trump Organization did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment on the WSJ story. The White House referred inquiries to the president's outside counsel. A representative for Trump's lawyer, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.