On Wednesday morning, President Trump tweeted about Stormy Daniels to call a sketch of the man who allegedly threatened her to protect Trump "fake news" and "a total con job." The comment was only the second time he'd publicly addressed the accusations leveled at him by the adult film star — and the first time he'd ever openly talked about her on Twitter.
"A sketch years later about a nonexistent man. A total con job," he wrote, in between tweets about sanctuary cities and North Korean denuclearization.
In an interview with Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes last month, Daniels claimed that a man approached and threatened her and her daughter as she was preparing to enter a fitness class in 2011, shortly after she'd agreed to sell her story about an alleged affair with Trump to InTouch magazine (Trump has denied the affair). Daniels said that the stranger told her to stay silent about the alleged relationship.
"A guy walked up on me and said to me, 'Leave Trump alone. Forget the story,'" she said. "And then he leaned around and looked at my daughter and said, 'That's a beautiful little girl. It'd be a shame if something happened to her mom.' And then he was gone."
Daniels also told Cooper that she remembered the man's face and "would know it right away" if she saw it again. On Tuesday, she and her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, released a sketch of a man drawn by forensic artist Lois Gibson based on Daniels' description of his appearance. They're offering $100,000 to anyone who identifies him and have created a tip line at IDTheThug@gmail.com.
One woman on Twitter claimed that the man in the drawing looked like Stormy Daniels' husband, Glendon Crain (though she called him Daniels' ex). Replying to her tweet comparing the two men, Trump tried to discredit the sketch on Wednesday, writing that Daniels and Avenatti were "playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!"
Daniels has been married to Crain, who produces porn and also works as a drummer, since 2010. Several people have likened his face to the one in the sketch; other comparisons have been drawn (in jest) to Tom Brady, Willem Dafoe, and even the man who announced the wrong name at the Oscars last year. According to Gibson's sketch, the man who allegedly threatened Daniels was in his 30's or early 40's, lean and fit, and between 5'9" and 6' tall.
Avenatti was quick to react to Trump's tweet on Wednesday with one of his own.
"FBI search warrants uncovering EXISTING documents and recordings showing con job after con job pulled on REAL people and very REAL American citizens (who didn’t know it)," he wrote. Although a blind criminal portrait may not seem like a "real" investigational asset, Gibson is as legitimate as forensic artists come: She holds a Guinness World Record for having identified the most criminals of anyone in her field.
In a second tweet, Avenatti added: "In my experience, there is nothing better in litigation than having a completely unhinged, undisciplined opponent who is prone to shooting himself in the foot. Always leads to BIGLY problems…like new claims (i.e. defamation). LOL."
Daniels sued Trump's attorney for defamation in March, arguing that he tried to portray her as a liar by denying that his $130,000 payment was to cover up an affair with Trump. Daniels alleges that the affair began in 2006, lasted for about a year, and involved just one sexual encounter. At the time, Trump had been married to Melania for around a year and a half and had a newborn son with her, Barron.