Giuliani: Trump repaid lawyer Cohen for Stormy Daniels settlement


Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York mayor and a recent addition to President Trump’s legal team, said Wednesday night that Trump made a series of payments reimbursing his lawyer, Michael Cohen, for a $130,000 settlement with an adult film actress — appearing to contradict Trump’s assertion last month that he was unaware of the payment.

“The president repaid it,’’ Giuliani told Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity.

Trump, Giuliani said, “didn’t know about the specifics of it, as far as I know. But he did know the general arrangement, that Michael would take care of things like this, like I take care of things like this with my clients.’’

Giuliani argued that the payment to actress Stormy Daniels could not have violated campaign finance laws, because no campaign money was involved.

But his statement raised a different set of questions — including whether Trump misrepresented his knowledge of the arrangement.

Last month, a reporter on Air Force One pressed Trump about the payment, asking him: “Did you know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels?”

Trump responded: “No.”

The reporter then asked: “Then why did Michael Cohen make [the payment], if there was no truth to her allegations?”

“You’ll have to ask Michael Cohen,” Trump said. “Michael’s my attorney, and you’ll have to ask Michael.”

Another reporter asked the president: “Do you know where he got the money to make that payment?”

“No,” Trump said. “I don’t know.”

On Wednesday night, Giuliani said Trump repaid Cohen through a series of payments, but didn’t specify when they occurred.

Cohen has said he arranged the financing of the settlement with Stormy Daniels through his home-equity line of credit. In a statement earlier this year, he did not to mention any role by Trump.

“Neither the Trump Organization 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 said.

Federal prosecutors in New York are investigating Cohen’s business practices, including whether there were any crimes committed as part of a possible pattern or strategy of buying the silence of people who could offer accounts in 2016 that could have damaged Trump’s candidacy, according to people familiar with the probe.

Daniels sued Trump in early March, seeking to void the deal she signed shortly before the 2016 election. That suit also named Essential Consultants, a company that Cohen set up as a vehicle for the $130,000 payment.

Michael Avenatti, an attorney for Daniels, said Giuliani’s comments suggested campaign finance violations and possibly, bank fraud and money laundering.

“According to Mr. Giuliani, Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen were co-conspirators in a felony,” he said. “Now it is time for justice to be served, and we intend to serve it.”

philip.bump@washpost.com

josh.dawsey@washpost.com

Beth Reinhard contributed to this report.



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