Below is my deception analysis of Stormy Daniels who has been in the news lately because she allegedly had sex with Donald Trump once in 2006.
When conducting a forensic statement analysis, it’s important to ask why a person worded a statement in a certain way. There are certain words and phrases that indicate deception.
Is it a denial? Or does it only sound like one?
From Stormy Daniel’s January 18, 2018 Denial Letter
“I recently became aware that certain news outlets are alleging that I had a sexual and/or romantic affair with Donald Trump many, many, many years ago. I am stating with complete clarity that this is absolutely false. Rumors that I have received hush money from Donald Trump are completely false. If indeed I did have a relationship with Donald Trump, trust me, you wouldn’t be reading about it in the news, you would be reading about it in my book. But the fact of the matter is, these stories are not true.”
This is not a credible denial. She is denying the conclusion that the stories and rumors are false. She is not denying the act did not happen, because she has not told us it didn’t. A credible statement would be “I did not have an affair” and “I did not receive hush money.”
She also says “I am stating…” Yes, she is indeed saying (stating), but credible statements don’t start with a statement to attempt to bolster their credibility, they merely deny the act. Lastly, she uses unique words and phrases that fall under the category of deception markers – “trust me” and “The fact of the matter…” These are also phrases used in attempt to bolster credibility, when in actuality, they do the opposite, and they weaken the statement.
From Stormy Daniel’s January 30, 2018 Denial Letter
“Over the past few weeks I have been asked countless times to comment on reports of an alleged sexual relationship I had with Donald Trump many, many, many years ago. The fact of the matter is that each party to this alleged affair denied its existence in 2006, 2011, 2016, 2017 and now again in 2018. I am not denying the affair because I was paid ‘hush money’ as has been reported in overseas owned tabloids. I am denying this affair because it never happened. I will have no further comment on this matter.”
This is also not a credible denial. Sometimes a person will “deny” doing something. Again this is different than saying, “I didn’t do it.” The word “deny” can mean “to refuse to accept.” When a person says, “I didn’t do it” she is denying the act. She is telling us she did not commit a certain act. The only true denial is to state, “I didn’t do it” or to specifically deny the act itself by saying, “I didn’t have an affair with Donald Trump.” “I am denying the affair because it never happened” is not the same as saying “I did not have sex with.”
From Stormy Daniel’s March 28, 2018 60 Minutes Interview with Anderson Cooper Stating She DID Have Sex with Donald Trump Once in 2006
With content analysis, it’s important to watch for a change in baseline. If their vocabulary changes from how they normally speak, that is a red flag. Pay attention to where in the story the words change. It can be a “tell.” Some poker players have tells when they are bluffing.
In this interview, Stormy’s speech changes to insert the word “like” when she’s describing dialogue. At times, she tends to use it to avoid committing to, “I said” or “he said.” There are other parts throughout the interview that she does use “I said” or “he said”, so the “like” is a deviation from her baseline.
Also pay attention to her use of the word “just”. The word “just” is often used to minimize things. When the word “just” is used to minimize a person’s actions it is an indication things didn’t transpire as described. See for yourself; the transcript is here.
She says he invited her to dinner, and she met him at his hotel suite.
Anderson Cooper: How was the conversation?
Stormy Daniels: Ummm (LAUGH) it started off– all about him just talking about himself. And he’s like— “Have you seen my new magazine?”
Anderson Cooper: He was showing you his own picture on the cover of a magazine.
Stormy Daniels: Right, right. And so I was like, “Does this– does this normally work for you?” And he looked very taken– taken back, like, he didn’t really understand what I was saying. Like, I was, “does, just, you know, talking about yourself normally work?” And I was like, “Someone should take that magazine and spank you with it.” (LAUGH) And I’ll never forget the look on his face. He was like—
Anderson Cooper: What– what was his look?
Stormy Daniels: Just, I don’t think anyone’s ever spoken to him like that, especially, you know, a young woman who looked like me. And I said, you know, “Give me that,” and I just remember him going, “You wouldn’t.” “Hand it over.” And– so he did, and I was like, “turn around, drop ’em.”
Anderson Cooper: It became more comfortable. [After the playful magazine swatting interaction]
Stormy Daniels: Yeah. He was like, “Wow, you– you are special. You remind me of my daughter.” You know– he was like, “You’re smart and beautiful, and a woman to be reckoned with, and I like you. I like you.”
Anderson Cooper: So he definitely wanted to continue to see you.
Stormy Daniels: Oh, for sure. Yes. And this was not a secret. He never asked me not to tell anyone. He called several times when I was in front of many people and I would be like, “Oh my God, he’s calling.” They were like, “Shut up, the Donald?” And I’d put him on speakerphone, and he wanted to know what I was up to and, “When can we get together again? I just wanted to give you a quick update, we had a meeting, it went great. There’s– it’s gonna be spectacular, they’re totally into the idea,” and I was like mhmm that part I never believed.
Stormy Daniels: Well, I’d been there for, like, four hours. And so I then was like, “Well, before, you know, can we talk about what’s the development?” And he was like, “I’m almost there. I’ll have an answer for you next week.” And I was like, “Okay, cool. Well– I guess call me next week.” And I just took my purse and left.
To contrast, Stormy also mentioned a time in 2011 when she was going to tell her story to another news outlet.
Stormy Daniels: I was in a parking lot, going to a fitness class with my infant daughter. T– taking, you know, the seats facing backwards in the backseat, diaper bag, you know, gettin’ all the stuff out. And a guy walked up on me and said to me, “Leave Trump alone. Forget the story.” 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.
There are no red flags, nothing deceptive, about the above statement.
I don’t have ground truth. As I’ve said many times before, it’d be irresponsible to say anything other than if there appears to a lie. A lie is an intent to mislead, either through omission or fabrication.
As pointed out, there are inconsistencies in Stormy Daniels’ denial letters, as well as in parts of her 60 Minutes interview.
Most likely parts of her story are true. Deceptive statements will usually not be 100% false. There will be some truthful information within the statement. There will always be other things going on besides the events described in a statement or interview.