Emil Guillermo: The Trump trial becomes a time machine with Stormy Daniels' testimony

Image for Emil Guillermo: The Trump trial becomes a time machine with Stormy Daniels' testimony
Image via Jane Rosenberg/AP-Rolling Stone

Asian Americans following the historic Trump criminal trial should ask themselves this: If you knew what you know now from testimony under oath, would you have still voted for Trump in 2016?

On Tuesday, Donald Trump, the former president on trial for felony criminal charges, was in a New York courtroom attentively looking at a screen like he was watching porn. And he sort of was.

His own trial.

The screen gave Trump an unobstructed view of porn star Stormy Daniels testifying under oath about a 2006 encounter in a Lake Tahoe hotel room between Trump and Daniels. The testimony canceled all of Trump’s denials about the two and made the salacious details of their tryst a 2024 campaign meme.

I don’t doubt her credibility.

Of course, that’s exactly what Trump was trying to avoid in 2016, when he is alleged to have been part of a scheme to silence Daniels from sharing the story in the media ahead of that year’s election.

Trump had already been hit that October with the “Access Hollywood” tape, the infamous “grab them by the p**sy” video that featured his insensitive, misogynistic traits.

But could Trump survive another detailed hit so soon after that? Could the unveiling of infidelity with a porn star while his wife Melania was at home with an infant son sink his campaign for good?

That’s what prosecutors allege was the basis for the hush money payment of $130,000 to Daniels later that month.

At the trial on Monday, a Trump accountant detailed how the payments, falsely disguised as legal fees to then attorney/fixer Michael Cohen, were made with explanations on notes, and checks signed by Trump himself.

Observers say that’s as close as it gets to a “smoking gun.”

Earlier in the trial, National Enquirer publisher David Pecker established that the effort to “catch and kill” negative stories about Trump, paying women like Daniels with a story to tell, was a standard way to help the Trump campaign. The Enquirer and the campaign were linked.

And then there was last week, when former Trump communications director Hope Hicks cried on the witness stand as she confirmed Trump’s knowledge of the payments.

Tears are the wet part of the truth. They don’t lie.

Things are lining up for the prosecution, and we haven’t even gotten to the court’s presumed star witness, former Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

With Daniels’ testimony, the record now shows what Trump was trying to hide from the electorate. He thought it would cost him votes.

So let’s go back to that time.

In 2016, Asian Americans were about 69 percent for Hillary Clinton, according to national surveys of Asian American voters.

The biggest Asian Trump supporters were Chinese (35 percent), Vietnamese (34 percent), and Filipino (28 percent).

Ask your friends if Daniels’ testimony under oath, negating all the denials from Trump about the affair, would have made a difference back then?

It may not have changed things from a strict AAPI numbers perspective. But nationwide, who knows what could have happened?

Hillary Clinton won the popular vote overwhelmingly but lost the electoral college vote 306-232.

Trump won Florida by 2 percent.

He won Pennsylvania by a hair, despite both candidates polling 48 percent of the vote.

It was just as tight in Wisconsin and Michigan, where both candidates had 47 percent of the vote. In the end, Trump eked out the votes to win the electoral college in both.

Could it have gone the other way with more damning information on Trump?Take away those close states from Trump and add the electoral votes of Florida (29), Pennsylvania (20), Wisconsin (10), Michigan (16) to Clinton, and the electoral college is 307 Clinton, Trump 231.

270 wins.

That’s the significance of Stormy Daniels’ testimony.

It’s what Trump didn’t want you to know.

And now we do.

But all that’s the past. Look to November. As the Trump trial unfolds, be your own best citizen/juror. The Trump defense is trying to tear down Daniels’ credibility by spotlighting her hate for Trump. But that doesn’t undo the truth of that hotel room encounter or the falsification of records.

After all of this, it makes one wonder: Is a second Trump term really in the nation’s best interests?


NOTE: I will talk about this column and other matters on “Emil Amok’s Takeout,” my AAPI micro-talk show. Live @2p Pacific. Livestream on Facebook; my YouTube channel; and Twitter. Catch the recordings on