Giuliani: Trump repaid Cohen $130K


Associated Press

WASHINGTON

In a startling revelation, President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani said Wednesday that Trump repaid his personal attorney $130,000 in a deal made just before the 2016 election to keep porn star Stormy Daniels quiet about her tryst with the president, directly contradicting Trump’s statements about the hush money.

During an appearance on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity,” the former New York City mayor and U.S. attorney said the money to repay Michael Cohen had been “funneled ... through the law firm and the president repaid it.”

Asked if Trump knew about the arrangement, Giuliani said: “He didn’t know about the specifics of it, as far as I know. But he did know about the general arrangement, that Michael would take care of things like this, like I take care of things like this for my clients. I don’t burden them with every single thing that comes along. These are busy people.”

The comments contradict statements made by Trump several weeks ago, when he said he didn’t know about the payment to Daniels as part of a nondisclosure agreement she signed days before the presidential election.

Asked aboard Air Force One whether he knew about the payment, Trump said flatly: “No.” Trump also said he didn’t know why Cohen had made the payment or where he got the money.

In a phone interview with “Fox and Friends” last week, however, Trump appeared to muddy the waters, saying that Cohen represented him in the “crazy Stormy Daniels deal.”

The White House referred questions to the president’s personal legal team.

Giuliani said the president had repaid Cohen over several months, indicating the payments continued through at least the presidential transition, if not into his presidency. He also said the payment “is going to turn out to be perfectly legal” because “that money was not campaign money.”

No debt to Cohen is listed on Trump’s personal financial disclosure form, which was certified on June 16, 2017.

Giuliani also described the payment to Daniels as “a very regular thing for lawyers to do.”

Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, called the comment “a stunning revelation.”

“Mr. Trump evidently has participated in a felony and there must be serious consequences for his conduct and his lies and deception to the American people,” he said.

Giuliani made the statements to Fox host Sean Hannity, who has his own connection to the case. It was recently revealed in court that Hannity is one of Cohen’s clients.

Hannity has described his personal dealings with Cohen as centered on real-estate advice and said that it “never rose to any level that I needed to tell anyone that I was asking him questions.”

Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, says she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006, months after his third wife gave birth to his youngest child, and was paid to keep quiet as part of a nondisclosure agreement she is now seeking to invalidate.

She has also filed a defamation suit against Trump after he questioned a composite sketch she released of a man she says threatened her to stay quiet.

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