In an interview with Yahoo News, former White water prosecutor Ken Starr said that revelations by the attorney for Donald Trump's attorney that the president was not aware of a $130,000 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels opens up a legal can of worms that the Justice Department needs to look into.
Appearing on CNN on Wednesday, David Schwartz, the attorney who represents Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen, stated Trump didn't know about the $130,000 payment made Cohen, saying, "[Trump] was not aware of any of it, wasn’t told about it.”
“Michael Cohen left the option open," Schwartz elaborated."That’s why he left that signature line, the option open to go to him. He chose not to. He chose to bind the LLC, EC LLC and Stormy Daniels into the contract.”
Starr said Schwartz’s comments raised a “serious and difficult question” about the Trump administration and suggested that the Justice Department appoint a second special counsel to investigate.
In the interview, Starr stated, "“That’s a serious question,” about the payoff and the way it was secretly handled and whether it was an illegal campaign contribution.
"What did the president know? Did he authorize it? All those things have to be sorted out,” Starr explained.
“This becomes an issue for Rod Rosenstein,” Starr continued referring to the assistant attorney general responsible for appointing special counsel Robert Mueller. “But Rod may very well say [to Mueller], ‘You need to stick to the issue. Let’s get through with this issue of collusion. You stick to that and lets now appoint [somebody else] as special counsel.’”
Daniels’s allegations about the payoff need “to be considered and assessed,” Starr continued, calling for, "The equivalent of a preliminary investigation. That’s the way these things are done.”
According to Starr, Rosenstein would have to walk a proposal before another special counsel by his boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“As in law school, I’m issue-spotting and discussing the kind of things that Rod Rosenstein would probably sit down with the attorney general” and raise. “He’d take that elevator from the fourth floor [of the Justice Department] to the fifth floor and say, ‘Gen. Sessions, we need to talk and this is the issue of the day, " Starr explained.
You can listen to the interview here.