In case you thought Donald Trump couldn't get any more awful, The Daily Beast just published a story about a decades-old encounter that Trump's ex-wife Ivana later privately described as rape, according to a 1993 account.
Trump's lawyer responded to The Daily Beast in extremely aggressive terms—claiming that, legally speaking, it's not possible to rape one's spouse, and by threatening, in vulgar and suggestive language, The Daily Beast's reporters.
The Daily Beast's report draws from the 1993 book Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald Trump, in which former Newsweek reporter Harry Hurt III describes a violent sexual encounter between Donald Trump and his former wife Ivana. After a scalp reduction surgery (intended to cover a bald spot) performed by a surgeon Ivana had used, Trump was extremely angry. After yelling at Ivana and pulling her hair, Hurt's book says, he tore her clothes, and then "he jams his penis inside her for the first time in more than sixteen months. Ivana is terrified…It is a violent assault. According to versions she repeats to some of her closest confidantes, 'he raped me.'" The next day, according to the book, Trump casually asked her, "Does it hurt?"
When Daily Beast reporters Tim Mak and Brandy Zadrozny called Trump Organization Special Counsel Michael Cohen about the accusation, he threatened the reporters (or perhaps "reporter" if only one of them made the call) with lawsuits and unspecified "disgusting" actions:
"I will make sure that you and I meet one day while we're in the courthouse. And I will take you for every penny you still don't have. And I will come after your Daily Beast and everybody else that you possibly know," Cohen said. "So I'm warning you, tread very fucking lightly, because what I'm going to do to you is going to be fucking disgusting. You understand me?"
"You write a story that has Mr. Trump's name in it, with the word 'rape,' and I'm going to mess your life up…for as long as you're on this frickin' planet…you're going to have judgments against you, so much money, you'll never know how to get out from underneath it," he added.
Cohen, who is, again, Trump's lawyer, which you might presume implies some legal knowledge and competency, also argued that legally it's not possible to rape your wife:
"You're talking about the front-runner for the GOP, presidential candidate, as well as private individual who never raped anybody. And, of course, understand that by the very definition, you can't rape your spouse."
"It is true," Cohen added. "You cannot rape your spouse. And there's very clear case law."
As The Daily Beast points out, that claim is (like a lot of things that have come out of the mouth of Cohen's client) totally untrue. New York law has had a provision on the books making spousal rape a crime since 1984. Apparently, Donald Trump needs, among other things, a different lawyer.
In Hurt's book, Ivana Trump gave a statement, provided by Donald Trump's lawyers, describing the incident. She said that in 1989 "Mr. Trump and I had marital relations in which he behaved very differently toward me than he had during our marriage. As a woman, I felt violated, as the love and tenderness, which he normally exhibited towards me, was absent. I referred to this as a 'rape,' but I do not want my words to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense." As The Daily Beast notes, the terms of Ivana's 1991 divorce from Donald Trump prevent her from speaking about their marriage without his authorization.
Donald Trump, who recently accused Mexican immigrants of being "rapists," is leading the GOP presidential primary field in multiple polls, including the latest from CNN, although he's still virtually certain not to win the Republican party nomination. Thank goodness.
Update: Cohen has made the following statement to CNN apologizing for…well, it's not entirely clear. But for at least something he said in the Daily Beast interview.
"As an attorney, husband and father there are many injustices that offend me but nothing more than charges of rape or racism. They hit me at my core. Rarely am I surprised by the press, but the gall of this particular reporter to make such a reprehensible and false allegation against Mr. Trump truly stunned me. In my moment of shock and anger, I made an inarticulate comment—which I do not believe—and which I apologize for entirely."
CNN also reports that Ivana Trump responded by saying that "the story is totally without merit."