The Persistence of Stormy Daniels

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It was a rough week for President Trump.

Michael D. Cohen, his former lawyer and longtime fixer, admitted that he’d paid $130,000 in hush money to the pornographic film star Stormy Daniels — real name Stephanie Clifford — “at the direction” of Mr. Trump “for the principal purpose of influencing the election.”

It’s a saga that has been unfolding erratically since January, with admissions, denials and conflicting accounts.

But a central theme to this case has not wavered amid the blithering: It is about how the most powerful person on the planet treats women. And it is about how Ms. Clifford, a woman who would be easy to cast aside as not credible, has remained persistent and vocal — despite repeated attempts from the Trump camp to diminish and silence her.

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In February, Mr. Cohen secretly obtained a temporary restraining order to keep Ms. Clifford from speaking about her alleged affair with Mr. Trump.

In June, Rudolph W. Giuliani, a lawyer to the president, said she was not believable because of her job. “I’m sorry I don’t respect a porn star the way I respect a career woman or a woman of substance,” he said.

Still, Ms. Clifford has not apologized or distanced herself from her work in the adult entertainment industry. (If anything, she’s leaned into it.)

In March, she shared her side of her experience with Mr. Trump on “60 Minutes,” and she regularly fires quips at her relentless online trolls, all while continuing to promote her own projects. She has leveraged the attention to her benefit — like her new perfume that’s called, what else, Truth.

Whether the past will come home to roost remains to be seen, but it has perhaps never been more plausible. And that’s in no small part because of Ms. Clifford, whose tweet on Tuesday, much like her, could not be ignored: “How ya like me now?!”

By the Numbers

65 years

Michael D. Cohen’s maximum possible prison sentence. Because of the plea agreement, he will more likely serve from 46 to 63 months.

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In the News

• Open season for #MeToo in Italy. Asia Argento was never a media favorite in her home country, but with new allegations that she sexually assaulted a teenage boy, she’s becoming a pariah there. [The New York Times]

• Daily threats for female candidates. The harassment can be amplified if the candidate is a member of a minority group. [The New York Times]

• “I didn’t doubt it for a second.” Celeste Ayala, an Argentine police officer, was promoted after breast-feeding a neglected baby. [The New York Times]

• Moving away from “hey guys.” A broad coalition of English speakers is grasping for a more inclusive greeting. [The Atlantic]

• “Ever since I was 6 or 7 years old I lived as a boy.” A visual record of the joys, fears and hopes of older transgender people. [The New York Times]

• “You are clearly not a husband.” When Margaret Coker, a Times correspondent in Dubai, wanted to sponsor her husband to live there, an official told her she needed to go to the office for “wayward women.” [The New York Times]

• Biking to the birthing suite. The ride was mostly downhill, said New Zealand’s minister for women, Julie Anne Genter, who, at 42 weeks pregnant, cycled to a hospital. [The Guardian]

• Overlooked but Not Forgotten. Doria Shafik’s hunger strikes and demonstrations made her one of the most influential women in the history of the Arab world. [The New York Times]

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From the Archives: ‘Flirtation on a Big Scale’

Sunday is Women’s Equality Day, established 45 years ago to recognize the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which granted American women the right to vote.

In the years leading up to the victory, groups assembled to oppose and discredit the suffragists. Some of the most vocal critics were women like Mrs. Arthur M. Dodge, the president of the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage.

In a lengthy article published in The New York Times in 1913, Mrs. Dodge railed about how suffrage could cause “startling and radical changes” to marriage, which she called “women’s one protection.”

Marriage “was designed for women, not men,” she went on. “Women were created to fulfill certain functions in the human scheme,” she said. “If she shirks them, not only women but the world will suffer.”


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