Donald Trump was attending a celebrity golf tournament at a Lake Tahoe resort in July 2006 when he met the adult-film star Stormy Daniels, she later said. Daniels said she took the future president up on his offer to ride around the lakefront course in his golf cart.
"That was actually my first time on a golf course," Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, told Adult Video News, a trade publication, "and when you're riding around with Donald Trump in an Escalade golf cart during your first time out on a course, I'd say I was doing all right."
What happened after has become a matter of intense dispute, stretching across the worlds of politics, media and adult entertainment. Daniels told journalists in interviews conducted over several years - but not made public until this month - that she and Trump had an affair that began at the tournament.
The story received scant attention until the Wall Street Journal reported last week that Trump's longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen, negotiated a secret $130,000 payment to secure her silence days before the 2016 presidential election.
The salacious allegations echo the tabloid coverage that was a part of Trump's rise as a New York developer. At the same time, they also have refocused attention on the president's history with women.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment Friday. A White House official last week dismissed the story as "old, recycled reports, which were published and strongly denied prior to the election." Cohen released a statement signed by "Stormy Daniels" denying an affair and calling reports of a payment "completely false."
But the controversy shows no signs of abating. On Friday, the celebrity magazine In Touch published a transcript of an interview it said Daniels gave in 2011. Jordi Lippe-McGraw, the reporter In Touch said spoke with Daniels, confirmed to The Washington Post that the transcript accurately reflected the interview she conducted with Daniels by phone in May 2011.
The magazine had published some details from the interview earlier in the week, but the full transcript - totaling more than 5,000 words - gave a new, expansive view of how Daniels recounted their interactions. She said the relationship began with a sexual encounter at the tournament and continued with phone conversations and in-person meetings for about a year, some of them involving Trump's desire to put her on his television show, "The Apprentice," according to the transcript.
Parts of the transcript reveal a familiar portrait of Trump - watching television intently, bragging about one of his daughters and boasting about being on the cover of a magazine. He is also portrayed as a man of quirky fascinations, one who sat riveted by "Shark Week" programming that aired during her visit.
"He is obsessed with sharks," Daniels is quoted as saying. "Terrified of sharks. He was like: 'I donate to all these charities and I would never donate to any charity that helps sharks. I hope all the sharks die.' "
According to the transcript, Daniels said that in his hotel room she asked Trump about his wife, Melania, who had recently given birth to their son, Barron. "He goes, 'Oh, don't worry about her' [and] quickly, quickly changed the subject," Daniels is quoted as saying.
Daniels told Lippe-McGraw she was going public about the alleged affair years after it ended because she was disturbed by comments Trump had made criticizing people in the pornography business, the transcript says. "It was very derogatory, and that makes me more mad than anything," she is quoted as saying.
Daniels could not be reached for comment this week, and a lawyer said to be representing her did not respond to messages seeking comment. A receptionist at his office said he was not there when a reporter visited Thursday.
Daniels was not the only porn star with a story involving Trump and the 2006 golf tournament. Jessica Drake worked the event with Daniels, promoting the work of Wicked Pictures, an adult-film company. Days before the 2016 election, Drake said publicly that she was offered $10,000 to go alone to Trump's hotel room, a charge his campaign denied.
Drake did not respond this week to requests for comment.
Her publicist, Josh Ortiz, told the Daily Beast last week that Drake had signed a nondisclosure agreement "covering any and every mention of Trump," the outlet reported. Immediately after the story published, however, Ortiz said that no such agreement existed and that he had "made an incorrect assumption due to a grave misunderstanding."
Drake's attorney, Gloria Allred, said in an email this week that Drake "did not sign an NDA with Trump and has no settlement with him." Allred also represents women who came forward before the 2016 election to accuse Trump of sexual misconduct, one of whom is suing him for defamation.
Daniels' comments, as published by In Touch, match what she told Slate in interviews conducted before the 2016 election, said Jacob Weisberg, chairman and editor in chief of the Slate Group.
Weisberg published an account Tuesday describing his interviews with her. His account and the transcript say Daniels discussed Trump's unfulfilled offer to buy her a condo in Tampa, his remarks about featuring her on "The Apprentice" and his invitation for her to attend the Miss USA pageant.
"It was a bit uncanny," Weisberg wrote in an email Friday, noting that she also related the "Shark Week" detail to him. "And nothing [published by In Touch] did not match what she told me."
In his Slate article, Weisberg wrote that had "worked out an agreement for the presidential candidate to pay her a six-figure sum to keep quiet." She spoke to Slate fearing that Trump "would stall her until after the election, and then refuse to sign or pay up," Weisberg wrote.
To corroborate Daniels' account, Weisberg said he spoke to three of her friends who "confirmed the outlines of her story." Also, Daniels sent Weisberg a two-page unsigned document related to a settlement that would have paid for her silence. The document, which Slate published, shields the names of the other people involved.
Daniels stopped responding to Weisberg a week before the election, and a friend of hers told him she had "taken the money from Trump after all," Weisberg wrote. Without Daniels' further cooperation or independent confirmation about the settlement, he opted not to publish the story at that time. Weisberg and In Touch reevaluated after the Wall Street Journal's report last week. (The Post has not independently verified that payment.)
After In Touch began posting parts of its Daniels report online, Cohen wrote in an email to The Post that a sister publication of In Touch had published "this identical piece" in 2011. He described it as "old news that wasn't true then and not true now."
The 2011 article Cohen cited aggregated a gossip-blog report claiming that Trump and Daniels had an affair. That story does not include any of Daniels' comments published this week by In Touch or refer to that interview.
James Heidenry, In Touch's editorial director, said he joined the publication last year and was not involved in the decision not to publish the interview in 2011. He said the story took on a new relevance after the Journal's report.
"It's a particularly strong story now in light of the Wall Street Journal's story about the $130,000 payoff, and because of all the denials about an affair," Heidenry said. "This story now has particular significance that it wouldn't have had if it was published before."
Heidenry said Daniels submitted to and passed a polygraph test in Las Vegas as part of the magazine's reporting, which he said was "standard in celebrity news." Daniels' then-husband corroborated her account and also took and passed a polygraph test, Heidenry said.
In 2009, Daniels considered running for the U.S. Senate seat in Louisiana then held by David Vitter, a family-values Republican linked to a prostitution ring run by the "D.C. Madam," saying that voters had drafted her. "Call me what you will, but you can't call me a hypocrite," Daniels said in a 2009 interview posted on YouTube.
Bradley Beychok, then a Democratic political consultant, said he met with Daniels during her "listening tour" in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. "It was clear she was smart, prepared and comfortable with the media frenzy," Beychok said.
One of her political advisers, Andrea Dubé, told The Post on Friday that she recalled discussions at the time about Daniels having an affair with Trump.
In an email exchange among Dubé and other advisers, one adviser wrote: "She says one time he made her sit with him for three hours watching 'shark week.' Another time he had her spank him with a Forbes magazine."
The email was first reported Thursday by Mother Jones.
In the In Touch account published Friday, Daniels said she came to regret the relationship with Trump.
"At the time, I didn't think that much about it," Daniels is quoted as saying. "But now that I have a baby that's the same age that his was at the time . . . I feel bad. It didn't occur to me at the time."