Here\'s What You Need To Know About Stephanie Clifford, The Adult Film Star Known As Stormy Daniels

By ANNA PALMER, JAKE SHERMAN, DANIEL LIPPMAN, ELI OKUN and GARRETT ROSS 

Presented by

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Judge Brett Kavanaugh

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) today declined to say what findings from the FBI investigation into Brett Kavanaugh could change his mind on the nomination. | Andrew Harnik/Pool via Getty Images

BEHIND THE SCENES … ON SEPT. 29 -- two days after the

BRETT KAVANAUGH hearing, and one day day after

SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R-ARIZ.) extracted a new FBI probe of the Supreme Court nominee -- the NRCC sent out a text donation solicitation with this text:

-- “Hi, it's URGENT! We need 324 more conservatives to show their support for Trump & his majority before TONIGHT. Will you take a stand?”

THE NUMBER OF DONATIONS were up 175 percent compared to one week before. The amount raised was up 194 percent, the average gift jumped by 111 percent and the average raised off the text was up 226 percent -- this is per a Republican source familiar with the campaign.

THAT’S NOT TO SAY Kavanaugh is a political positive. But, according to this measurement, the political environment seems to be revving up Republicans.

PLAYBOOK EXCLUSIVES …

-- VP MIKE PENCE is headlining a fundraiser for

REP. DAVE BRAT (R-VA.) Wednesday at the home of American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp. Other notables on the host committee: Charlie Spies, David Safavian, former Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas), Jackie Arends and ACU Executive Director Dan Schneider. Cost to attend: $250.

i">>The invite

-- FOGGY BOTTOM ARRIVAL LOUNGE:

ERIC UELAND started on Monday as the director of U.S. Foreign Assistance Resources, at the State Department. He previously was senior strategy officer at the Millennium Challenge Corporation and worked for the Senate Budget Committee.

Good Tuesday afternoon. ELI’S DISPATCH FROM THE ATLANTIC FESTIVAL … HOUSE MINORITY LEADER NANCY PELOSI (D-CALIF.) weighed in on Democrats’ main focus for the midterms. “Health care costs in the country, that’s probably the major issue. And it’s tied to what the president and Republicans did on the tax bill,” she said.

-- IF DEMS RETAKE THE HOUSE … Pelosi said they would emphasize Congress’ role in checking the executive. “We’ll be able to show Article I: This is not a rubber stamp for any president, but its own independent, co-equal branch of government.”

-- PELOSI ALSO SAID Trump wants to “undo the Me Too movement.”

SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R-ARIZ.) declined to say what findings from the FBI investigation into Kavanaugh

could change his mind on the nomination. “I just hope that we find fact,” he said. “And I have an open mind … and we’ll see what they come back with. I don’t want to prejudge it.”

-- FLAKE SAID HE APPRECIATED Kavanaugh’s forceful defense against what the nominee considered false allegations -- but that his anger Thursday toward Democrats turned Flake off. “The interaction with the members was sharp and partisan, and that concerns me. … We can’t have this on the court. We simply can’t.”

-- FLAKE CLARIFIED TO REPORTERS his previous comment about any lies from Kavanaugh being disqualifying. He said small matters on which the truth is hard to verify likely wouldn’t rise to that level -- but “if it’s something that’s just clear-cut, you can’t mislead the committee.”

-- SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DEL.) TOLD REPORTERS that a Democratic-majority Senate could confirm a Trump Supreme Court pick from the ranks of conservative circuit court judges -- but someone on the Federalist Society list probably would go nowhere.

-- FLAKE AND

COONS, appearing together this morning, praised each other and the momentary break in the Kavanaugh confirmation fight.

COONS: “It’s a really significant statement that the cooling saucer of the Senate can still, though cracked, perform those functions.”

-- BOTH MEN WERE LESS OPTIMISTIC about the prospects for restoring bipartisanship and civility to the Senate.

FLAKE: “I don’t know how we get back. The incentives are all the other way.”

-- COONS SAID HE HAD A TOUGH conversation with his wife last week about running for re-election in 2020. “I’ll just be blunt: Is this really worth our time? … I said to my wife, ‘I don’t know if this is a good investment, but I know this: If the Senate doesn’t work, our Constitution, our republic, our nation doesn’t work. I cannot abandon this post.’” Coons also noted

SEN. TOM CARPER’S (D-DEL.) primary challenge from the left this year and said, “the politics of my party are beginning to resemble the politics of the other party in ways that concern me.”

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THE INVESTIGATIONS …

-- WSJ’S JOE PALAZZOLO and

MICHAEL ROTHFELD: “Trump Directed Legal Action to Enforce Stormy Daniels’s Hush Agreement”: “President Trump personally directed an effort in February to stop Stormy Daniels from publicly describing an alleged sexual encounter with Mr. Trump, people familiar with the events say. In a phone call, Mr. Trump instructed his then-lawyer Michael Cohen to seek a restraining order against the former adult-film actress, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, through a confidential arbitration proceeding …

“Mr. Trump told Mr. Cohen to coordinate the legal response with Eric Trump … The accounts of that effort recently provided to The Wall Street Journal suggest that the president’s ties to his company continued into this year and contradict public statements made at the time by the Trump Organization, the White House and Mr. Cohen.” WSJ

-- SCOOP -- BEN SCHRECKINGER: “GOP operative who sued Trump says FBI referred hacking of her email to Mueller”

-- FINANCIAL TIMES’ KADHIM SHUBBER: “Money laundering expert to leave Mueller team”

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THE LATEST ON KAVANAUGH …

-- AP’S LISA MASCARO (@LisaMascaro): “McConnell opens the Senate mocking Kavanaugh allegations. And he promises Senate will vote ‘here, on this floor, this week.’”

-- CNN’S Ariane de Vogue (@Arianedevogue): “Just in: Mark Judge’s lawyer tells me that the FBI has completed its interview of Judge.”

THE REDESIGNED WAPO MAGAZINE ... COVER STORY … DAN BALZ: “Will the Democrats Wake Up Before 2020?”

WHAT STEPHEN MILLER IS UP TO -- “U.S. considered ban on student visas for Chinese nationals,” by the FT’s Demetri Sevastopulo in Washington and Tom Mitchell in Beijing: “White House hawks earlier this year encouraged President Donald Trump to stop providing student visas to Chinese nationals, but the proposal was shelved over concerns about its economic and diplomatic impact. …

“While the debate was largely focused on spying, Mr. Miller argued that his plan would also hurt elite universities whose staff and students had slammed Mr. Trump … After his idea sparked intense debate, the issue came to a head in an Oval Office meeting in the spring during which he squared off with opponents, including Terry Branstad, the former Iowa governor who is U.S. ambassador to China. … Mr. Branstad succeeded in convincing the president that Mr. Miller’s proposal was too draconian.” FT

2018 WATCH -- “Election ahead, Trump’s advisers try to get him to hold back,” by AP’s Catherine Lucey, Zeke Miller and Jonathan Lemire: “Donald Trump’s advisers have been sounding that nervous refrain in the lead-up to the midterm elections, hoping the president will hold off on a series of actions he’s been itching to take, but that could hinder Republicans on Nov. 6.

“Trump has made clear he would shut down the government if necessary to win money for his long-sought wall on the Mexican border. He’s talked about getting rid of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein or Attorney General Jeff Sessions. For months, there’s been speculation he’ll make a move against special counsel Robert Mueller.” AP

-- NYT’S PATRICIA MAZZEI in

South Miami:

“For Democrats, Flipping a Miami Congressional Seat Is Harder Than They Thought”: “Donna Shalala, the health and human services secretary under President Bill Clinton and a former president of the University of Miami, had unmatched fund-raising prowess and deep name recognition, and she was thought to be a shoo-in …

“Democrats have fretted for weeks that Ms. Shalala and party leaders in Washington overestimated her appeal and underestimated [Maria Elvira] Salazar’s in a district where 57 percent of registered voters are Latino. Most of them are Cuban-American, as is Ms. Salazar, who is well-known from her years working for Telemundo, CNN En Español and a local station, MegaTV. … Democrats worry that Ms. Shalala has failed to consolidate support from base voters wary over her ties to corporate boards and to the Clinton Foundation.” NYT

-- NYT’S TRIP GABRIEL in Charlotte:

“Floods. Wildfires. Yet Few Candidates Are Running on Climate Change”: “In an election year that has included alarming portents of global warming — record wildfires in the West, 500-year floods in the East, a president walking away from a global climate accord — the one place that climate change rarely appears at all is in the campaigns of candidates for the House and Senate. …

“Environmental activists and political scientists say it is a reflection of the issue’s perpetual low ranking among voters, even Democratic voters, and of the intense polarization along party lines that has developed around global warming, even as the science of human-caused warming has become overwhelming.” NYT

-- MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE’S STEPHEN MONTEMAYOR: “DFL inquiry can’t substantiate Ellison abuse allegation; report sent to law enforcement”

ISAAC DOVERE: “Elijah Cummings Is Ready to Investigate Trump”: “[Elijah] Cummings is prepping targets—from the security clearances of Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, to digging into how former EPA chief Scott Pruitt was able to keep his job for so long—and the list is getting longer by the week.” POLITICO Magazine

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THE PAUL STREET JOURNAL … “Tax Cuts Provide Limited Boost to Workers’ Wages,” by

WSJ’s Vanessa Fuhrmans: “A new survey of 152 companies by executive-recruitment firm Korn Ferry International revealed 14% were putting part of their tax-cut savings into base salary increases.

“A poll of 1,500 companies by consulting firm Mercer LLC showed 4% are redirecting tax savings to budgets for bigger paychecks in the coming year. And in a survey of more than 1,000 companies published by human-resources consulting firm Aon PLC, 99% said the tax cuts weren’t prompting them to increase minimum wages.” WSJ

MEDIAWATCH -- “The New Power of New York List 2018,” in Variety: Among the crop is new Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott, the first woman to hold the position, whom 21st Century Fox Executive Chairman Lachlan Murdoch credited with creating “some of the most popular primetime programs on cable.” Other names of note on the list: Ronan Farrow, Meghan McCain, Van Jones, Monica Lewinsky, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Michelle Wolf, A.G. Sulzberger, Harris Faulkner, Stephanie Ruhle and Yashar Ali. Variety

-- “The Great White House Reporter Glow-Up,” by Joel Pavelski in GQ: “Thanks to the nonstop demands of cable news, the ink-stained wretches covering Trump have transformed into tightly tailored professional pundits.” GQ

-- “A Journalist Has Been Deported From Nicaragua After Being Doxxed By An Online Mob,” by BuzzFeed’s Mark Di Stefano: BuzzFeed

-- Diana D’Abruzzo has left POLITICO, where she was home-page editor, to become a full-time freelance copy editor. She will also dip into design and writing.

NEW PODCAST ALERT … CNN’s “THE FORECAST WITH HARRY ENTEN, ” which also features Rebecca Berg and Ryan Nobels.

i">>Listen

SPOTTED yesterday in the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes at the portrait unveiling of Eric Fanning’s official portrait as the 22nd secretary of the Army (

pic ...

another pic ): Fanning, Ben Masri-Cohen, Secretary of the Army Mark Esper, Deborah Lee James, Jeremy Bash, Gordon and Jenny Lubold, Alex Wagner, Caitlin Hayden, Undersecretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, Chief of Staff of the Army Mark Milley, Brandt Anderson and Arnold and Dan Punaro.

WELCOME TO THE WORLD -- Ed O’Keefe, CBS News political correspondent and a WaPo alum, and

Valerie O’Keefe, a senior associate in education and engagement with the American Society of Interior Designers, on Monday welcomed Margot Isabel O’Keefe, who came in at 6 pounds, 15 ounces, 20 inches.

i">>3 pics

BONUS

BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Michelle Sara King, president and CEO of King Consults, celebrating with friends tonight at Maydan.

Q&A

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