Trump lawyer Michael Cohen once sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Onion about an op-ed written in Donald Trump's voice, seemingly unaware that the publication is satirical.
It sounds like a typical Onion report, but Politico has validated that the exchange actually happened: In 2013, Cohen emailed the Onion (which was 25 years old at that point) about a piece titled "When You're Feeling Low, Just Remember I'll Be Dead In About 15 Or 20 Years." Its byline: Donald Trump. Cohen called the text an "absolutely disgusting piece that lacks any place in journalism, even in your Onion."
"This commentary goes way beyond defamation and, if not immediately removed, I will take all actions necessary to ensure your actions do not go without consequence," the attorney wrote, demanding the piece be removed from the site and an apology issued to Trump.
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He concluded: "Guide yourselves accordingly."
On Monday, the Onion published a response to Cohen's five-year-old letter, saying its staff had been "shaken to its core" by the "serious legal threat," proposing a quid pro quo: "we now formally offer to remove the complete archive of The Onion’s reporting on Donald Trump, spanning hundreds of articles that stretch back to the late ’90s, so long as Mr. Cohen can pledge to provide us with a direct line to the president."
"Imagine, for a moment, the benefits you and your client will reap," the editors wrote. "No longer will Mr. Trump need to contend with the embarrassment of readers learning about his proclivities in articles such as “Donald Trump Forlornly Stares At Tiny Penis In Mirror.” Such accounts — fully sourced though they may be — will disappear from our archives immediately if you hold up your end of the deal."
Cohen had nothing to say about the Onion's offer. But on Monday he responded to the Politico piece that kicked off the whole thing, tweeting that he did in fact know that the Onion was satirical. At that point. "Maybe all of you #haters #trolls missed the memo but @TheOnion is a news “SATIRE” Organization. That means...it’s not real! #GetALife"
Meanwhile, the Onion kept reiterating its offer to Cohen via tweetstorm.
Cohen, long referred to as the president's "fixer," is under federal investigation for paying $130,000 to porn star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about an affair with Trump, and whether that payment violates campaign-finance laws.