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February 14, 2018

On Tuesday night, Michael Cohen, a longtime personal lawyer for President Trump, made the startling admission that he had, after all, paid $130,000 to adult film actress Stephanie "Stormy Daniels" Clifford right before the 2016 election. The Wall Street Journal reported in January that Cohen had paid Daniels $130,000, through a company set up for that purpose, to stay quiet about an extramarital affair she was telling reporters she had with Trump in 2006.

"Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly," Cohen said, not ruling out that Trump himself had reimbursed him. On Tuesday night, Fox News national correspondent Ed Henry tackled the big question: "This might raise more questions about possible hush money, since the president and the porn star have insisted nothing happened, so why pay her? Well Cohen just told me in a phone call, 'Even if something is untrue, it can be damaging.' His goal all along was to protect the president."

On MSNBC, Brian Williams asked legal analyst Jill Wine-Banks why this would "be important and germane enough to re-inject the porn star story back into the news cycle?" Using campaign money "would have been an improper use of campaign funding," Wine-Banks said. "But, first of all, all of Michael Cohen's money comes from the Trump Organization, so it's basically Trump money no matter what. And the admission that they're paying a porn star says something: Why would they pay her? It's because she could have possibly blackmailed the president." Blackmail from a former paramour or Russians would be "a serious problem," she added.

Even if Cohen used his own money, campaign finance experts tell the Journal, he "likely violated election rules because it wasn't reported to the Federal Election Commission." And Cohen's admission that he made the payment to protect Trump suggests he was aiding the Trump campaign. Peter Weber

1:02 p.m. ET

A neo-Nazi march is scheduled for Saturday in the small Georgia city of Newnan, about 40 miles southwest of Atlanta. Anti-fascist counter-protesters are expected as well, and a local church will hold an interfaith service to promote "peace and unity" during the rally.

To prepare for the event, local shopkeepers have removed anything that could be moved or thrown in public spaces, and many will not open for business to decrease opportunities for conflict. Many Newnan residents went shopping the night before to help make up the missing revenue.

And a community nonprofit invited children to make chalk drawings in the local park to undermine the neo-Nazis' message: "It will be hard for the hate group to take serious video footage when a rainbow-colored unicorn is in the shot." Bonnie Kristian

12:21 p.m. ET

An estimated 1,500 mourners turned out for the funeral of former first lady Barbara Bush at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston on Saturday.

Her widower, former President George H.W. Bush, was joined by former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura; former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle; and former President Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary. First lady Melania Trump attended without President Trump — sitting presidents typically do not go to funerals of former first ladies — who tweeted about the funeral from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida:

Barbara Bush died Tuesday at 92 after electing not to receive further treatment for multiple ailments. Read The Week's Matthew Walther on her life here. Bonnie Kristian

11:43 a.m. ET

Queen Elizabeth turned 92 on Saturday, marking the day with several military salutes and a concert in the evening. She is the oldest British monarch by more than a decade, easily outpacing runner-up Queen Victoria, who lived to be 81.

Though April 21 is the actual day of her birth, Elizabeth officially celebrates her birthday on June 9, a tradition that dates to King George II, who wanted to celebrate with good weather in the summer instead of his real birthday month, November. The summer birthday is marked with a large parade in London.

On Thursday, Elizabeth formally endorsed her son, Prince Charles, to be the next leader of the Commonwealth. "It is my sincere wish that the Commonwealth will continue to offer stability and continuity for future generations and will decide that one day the Prince of Wales should carry on the important work started by my father in 1949," she said. Bonnie Kristian

10:47 a.m. ET
Michael Thomas /

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens (R) was charged Friday with felony computer data tampering for his campaign's alleged use of "data, specifically a donor list owned by The Mission Continues," a charity Greitens founded, for "a political fundraiser."

Greitens is already charged with felony invasion of privacy. He is accused of threatening a woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair that he would release an intimate photo of her if she spoke about their relationship.

The governor has refused to resign while his court cases proceed. He denied the new allegations Friday. Bonnie Kristian

10:40 a.m. ET
Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday directed Americans to throw away all romaine that could have been grown near Yuma, Arizona, which is believed to be the source of E. coli contamination on the lettuce. The CDC originally warned against pre-chopped romaine only, but the caution has been expanded to include hearts of romaine and full heads of the lettuce.

Some 53 people in 16 states have been affected by the outbreak. While five have suffered kidney failure from the bacteria, no deaths have been reported so far. Read the CDC's full report on the outbreak here. Bonnie Kristian

10:05 a.m. ET

A California man named Anthony Mele was killed in an apparently random stabbing attack while he held his young daughter at a cafe in Ventura, California, on Wednesday.

A homeless man named Jamal Jackson was arrested and charged with first-degree murder for the attack. Restaurant employees and customers followed Jackson after the stabbing to help police locate him.

"It's horrible," said prosecutor Richard Simon. "You don't think you're going to be killed when you go out to dinner at a nice restaurant with your family." Bonnie Kristian

10:00 a.m. ET

In rapid-fire tweets Saturday morning, President Trump accused New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman — who co-wrote a Friday story on Michael Cohen, Trump's personal attorney — of faking the report in an effort to coerce Cohen into talking to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe:

Trump posted his tweet series twice, the second iteration replacing a first attempt in which Trump misspelled "Haberman" as "Habberman."

The Times story in question suggests Cohen's loyalty to Trump may be fading after years of Trump treating him "poorly, with gratuitous insults, dismissive statements and, at least twice, threats of being fired." "Donald goes out of his way to treat [Cohen] like garbage," said Trump adviser Roger Stone. Bonnie Kristian

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