Rachel Maddow Lays Out Trump’s New Legal Nightmare: The Karen McDougal Payoff

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A new settlement of a civil suit between Karen McDougal and Trump-friendly media company AMI was reached Wednesday, freeing McDougal from a contract that kept her from talking about her alleged affair with Donald Trump.

Aside from McDougal sharing her story, Rachel Maddow laid out what could be a much bigger nightmare for Trump: The continued criminal investigation into Trump’s $150,000 payment to the former Playboy Playmate.

In an exchange with former U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg, Maddow asked how today’s settlement impacts the ongoing federal criminal investigation into the payoff.

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The short answer should terrify Trump: It won’t have any impact. Investigators will still get their hands on all documents related to the payment.

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In the exchange, Rosenberg explained how the civil settlement won’t at all undercut the ongoing criminal investigation:

No reason at all. In fact, Rachel, they’re going to get all the stuff. Probably more than would have come out in civil discovery. So nothing about this settlement undermines or undercuts the work that the federal agents and the federal prosecutors are gonna do. They get this stuff. They get to put people in the grand jury. We have seen from other indictments in the Mueller case, for instance, how good federal prosecutors are at following the money. They’re gonna follow the money.

Following the money is the last thing Trump wants

There is nothing more dangerous to the Trump presidency than a money trail being exposed. That’s what makes the controversy surrounding Stormy Daniels and, now, Karen McDougal so potentially damaging to the president.

It’s not about the salacious details surrounding his sexual affairs. It’s about the money.

With Michael Cohen – the man who coordinated these payments – now being fully exposed to federal investigators, this raises the stakes even further. After all, if the president’s fixer is at risk, then so is Trump.

Karen McDougal is now free to share her story about her affair with Trump – or choose to remain in the shadows if she wants – but the next brewing scandal for Trump is the criminal investigation into the money that kept her silent in the first place.

Despite Wednesday’s civil settlement, this major legal threat is still there – and it poses a clear and present danger to Donald Trump.