Are Karen McDougal's Claims Credible?

It is now known that Donald Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen secretly recorded a telephone conversation with Trump in which a cash payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal was discussed – though what doesn't seem clear is that if McDougal received a $150,000 payment from National Enquirer publisher American Media, Inc., for what purpose was the fee Trump and Cohen discussed – an indirect payment to AMI, or a second payment to McDougal? 

A February 16, 2018 NY Post story states that McDougal wrote an eight-page handwritten memorandum that someone named John Crawford shared with Ronan Farrow.  When Farrow showed McDougal a copy of her handwritten memorandum, she expressed surprise that he had it but confirmed that it was her handwriting.  According to this story, Trump had filmed an episode of The Celebrity Apprentice in 2006 at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles, and afterward, he and Hugh Hefner threw a party for everybody involved.  There were dozens of bunnies there, including McDougal (a "Playmate of the Year" in 1996), and this is where she met Trump for the first time.  He "immediately took a liking to me, kept talking to me – telling me how beautiful I was etc. ... I was so nervous!  I was into his intelligence + charm.  Such a polite man," she wrote.  "We talked for a couple hours – then, it was 'ON'!  We got naked + had sex."

When and why did McDougal write this handwritten memorandum?  Was it intended only for herself, or did she mean to share it with somebody?  Who is John Crawford?  Why did she share the story with him, or did he steal her original handwritten memorandum?  Why did he share it with Ronan Farrow?

After the initial (alleged) encounter, McDougal claims she "went to see him every time he was in LA (which was a lot)." 

In what is arguably the most important of her quotes, Farrow's New Yorker story says:

Over the course of the affair, Trump flew McDougal to public events across the country but hid the fact that he paid for her travel.  "No paper trails for him," she wrote.  "In fact, every time I flew to meet him, I booked/paid for flight + hotel + he reimbursed me."

This is nonsense.  Of course there was a paper trail.  While nobody would expect Trump to be stupid enough to repay McDougal with a personal check drawn from his joint "Mr. & Mrs. Donald J. Trump" checking account, surely Trump controls many dozens of bank accounts with innocent-sounding names.  If he compensated her in any way save for cash, there is a paper trail.

McDougal told Anderson Cooper a month late that Trump did cuff $500 or so in cash her way every time they got together.  But even if this is true, there is still a paper trail, because McDougal also has her own.  If she pre-paid for and booked all her own travel arrangements – flight, hotel, maybe even ground transportation and meals – she has an extensive paper trail that she herself can call upon.

In addition to McDougal's banking and travel digital records, she even has her own "journal" to call upon, which Anderson Cooper showed on air during his interview with McDougal.  So, surely, McDougal should easily be capable of creating an archive of her travel history.  If her claims are true, then it would be easy to compare her itineraries with Trump's own provable travel history to see if there's any match.  If there is, it will speak powerfully to McDougal's credibility.

McDougal has not produced any such archive.  Unless and until she does, her claims are unsubstantiated.

Farrow's story goes on (emphasis added):

In July, 2006, McDougal joined Trump at the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship, at the Edgewood Resort, on Lake Tahoe.  At a party there, she and Trump sat in a booth with the New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, and Trump told her that Brees had recognized her, remarking, "Baby, you're popular."  (Brees, through a spokesman, denied meeting Trump or McDougal at the event.)

If McDougal and Trump really had met Drew Brees at this event, why would "Cool Brees" deny it?

A week after the golf tournament, McDougal joined Trump at the fifty-fifth Miss Universe contest, in Los Angeles.  She sat near him, and later attended an after-party where she met celebrities.  Trump also set aside tickets for Clifford (Stormy Daniels), as he did at a later vodka launch that both women attended.

There are many problems with this claim.

In the first place, Stormy Daniels herself has claimed she met Trump only once, for a one-night stand.  She has never claimed that Trump left behind tickets for her to meet him on two subsequent occasions.  McDougal subsequently told Anderson Cooper that she'd been with Trump "a lot" during this event and never saw other women.

About a month later, according to a March 20 NY Post story, McDougal filed a lawsuit in California to get out of a "fraudulent and illegal" agreement she'd made with AMI to remain silent in exchange for receiving $150,000 from them for the rights to publish her story.

In the Post's follow-up story of March 22, McDougal is quoted as telling Anderson Cooper some other astounding things.

McDougal said, "[Trump] introduced her to all of his adult kids during the romance."  I don't know if that includes Trump's second daughter Tiffany, but I'm pretty sure it includes both of Trump's adult sons and his daughter Ivanka.

This is an incredible claim on its face.  It's public knowledge that years earlier, Trump's affair with Marla Maples caused the breakup of his marriage to the mother of these three older children, which caused a horrific strain and a near breach of relations between Trump and his children.  Reportedly, Donald Jr. refused to say even one word to his father for about a year after the breakup.

Trump and his children have since reconciled.  But surely scars remain.  What man, having inflicted such wounds on his children, whose love and respect he dearly courts and craves, would ever abuse the privilege of the forgiveness of his children by crassly introducing the likes of any successor mistress to them?

According to this story, "She said she had unprotected sex with Trump 'many dozens of times.'"

I don't buy McDougal's story for an instant.  But I'm still movable.  If McDougal will but produce her travel records, which some enterprising investigator can then compare to Trump's own itineraries, she'll have gone a long way to establishing her credibility.

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