Donald Trump Repaid Stormy Daniels Hush Money, Rudy Giuliani Says

'It’s not campaign money; no campaign finance violation,' the former New York City mayor said.

Donald Trump personally repaid his lawyer Michael Cohen the $130,000 (£95,628) payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 presidential election, his legal aide Rudy Giuliani has said.

In a sweeping interview on Fox News on Wednesday night, former New York City Mayor Giuliani said: “It’s going to turn out to be perfectly legal; that money was not campaign money.”

His comments seem to directly contradict the US president, who said he had no knowledge that Cohen had paid Daniels. Reporters aboard Air Force One had asked whether Trump knew about the payment, to which the president replied: “No.”

“You’ll have to ask Michael Cohen,” Trump said when pressed on the issue. “Michael is my attorney. You’ll have to ask Michael.”

The White House declined to comment to HuffPost.

Speaking on Wednesday night to Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Giuliani said: “That money was not campaign money. Sorry, I’m giving you a fact now that you don’t know. It’s not campaign money. No campaign finance violation.

“They funnelled it through a law firm and the president repaid it.”

Cohen is currently under criminal investigation by the Justice Department and FBI agents raided his office, home and hotel room last month, seizing business records and documents, including those related to the payout to Daniels.

Trump has moved to distance himself from the attorney, saying last week Cohen only handled a “tiny, tiny little fraction” of his legal work.

In March, Cohen confirmed that he’d made a payment to Daniels, who alleges she had an affair with Trump, out of his own pocket.

“Neither the Trump Organisation nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly,” Cohen told The New York Times in a statement at the time.

“The payment to Ms Clifford was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone.”

Late on Wednesday, Fox News’ John Roberts said Giuliani backtracked even further over the comments, and claimed that the president didn’t know what the money was for, but was simply told by Cohen to pay for hundreds of thousands of dollars in unnamed “expenses.”

Giuliani’s revelation appeared to take Hannity aback, and just moments after the host went off the air, Fox’s Laura Ingraham questioned the bombshell. “I love Rudy, but they better have an explanation for that,” she said. “That’s a problem.”

Adult film actress Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, speaks to media along with lawyer Michael Avenatti.
Adult film actress Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, speaks to media along with lawyer Michael Avenatti.
Brendan McDermid / Reuters

Shortly after the interview, Giuliani told The Wall Street Journal that Trump’s earlier comments were “not [an] issue.”

“Cohen was his lawyer and had discretion to settle, as I have had for clients ultimately paying for it,” he told the outlet, before noting that Trump was “probably not aware” of the payment.

But Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, said “every American, regardless of their politics, should be outraged” by the news.

“Mr Trump stood on AF1 and blatantly lied,” he wrote on Twitter. “This followed the lies told by others close to him, including Mr Cohen. This should never be acceptable in our America.”

Giuliani joined Trump’s legal team last month. John Dowd, Trump’s former top lawyer, resigned in March after repeatedly butting heads with the president over how cooperative he should be with Mueller.

Dowd had urged Trump to reject any sit-down interview but grew increasingly worried that his client would ignore his advice.


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