New York Magazine has laid out a theory that initially seems bizarre, but that ultimately makes perfect sense. Follow me here. Here’s the TL;DR:
If no one had told you any differently, what would you conclude from the following scenario:
Shera Bechard, a Playboy Playmate, has a long-time affair with a much older man, who impregnates her. She hires Keith Davidson — who represented Stormy Daniels and Heather McDougal — to negotiate a non-disclosure agreement for $1.6 million with Michael Cohen (who represented Trump in the Daniels and McDougal matters) between “David Dennison” and “Peggy Peterson,” the pseudonyms used by Trump and Daniels/McDougal in their respective NDAs. The money was paid to Bechard through Essential Consultants LLC, the same entity that Cohen used to pay Stormy Daniels.
That arrangement looks identical to the arrangements between Donald Trump and Stormy Daniels/Heather McDougal. And yet, according to the Wall Street Journal, that arrangement was made between Bechard and a top Republican fundraiser, Elliot Broidy who, unlike Trump, does not have a reputation as a serial adulterer who does not wear condoms when he sleeps with his mistresses (in fact, he’s been married to the same woman for 25 years, with whom he has 3 children) but he does have a reputation for influence peddling — he once pled guilty to bribing a public official, and he’s been able to parlay his relationship with Trump into several lucrative deals.
How do we know that the arrangement was between Elliot Broidy and Shera Bechard and not between Donald Trump and Shera Bechard? Because that’s what Elliot Broidy — who has taken considerable advantage of his relationship with Trump since he became President — told The Wall Street Journal. Are there any documents to suggest it was Elliot Broidy and not Trump? Is there any proof whatsoever?
No. The Wall Street Journal, CNN and The New York Times took Elliot Broidy’s word on the matter. No one questioned it when Broidy — an obscenely wealthy man with a team of lawyers of his own — hired Michael Cohen, an idiot with only one client (Trump), who attended the worst law school in America, to negotiate his NDA with a Playboy Playmate.
And when did we find out that Broidy had paid off Shera Bechard? Right after the Feds raided Michael Cohen’s office. Why did we find out then? Is it because Broidy thought it would go public (though there was no reason to believe that at the time). Or is it because Donald Trump feared that the feds would assume that the NDA was between Trump and the Playboy Playmate because it fit the exact same pattern as the previous two NDAs?
And why would a largely anonymous person pay Bechard $1.6 million to keep quiet about an affair?
Is it possible, New York Magazine theorizes, that Broidy did pay the $1.6 million to Bechard by funneling it through Cohen’s shell company, but thought it was better to admit to an affair he didn’t have with a Playboy Playmate than to admit to bribing the President of the United States by paying off his mistress for him?
There’s a lot more to NYMag’s theory than this, and it is incredibly convincing. And if they’re right, not only did Trump impregnate Bechard and silence her, but he accepted a bribe from a Republican fundraiser to pay her off and the press never questioned any of this. As NYMag writes, all we do know “is that the White House’s version of the story got into print without any apparent journalistic inquiry into whether that account was accurate, or an elaborate ruse.” What we don’t know is who the affair was really between.