President Donald Trump repaid personal attorney Michael Cohen for an October 2016 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels as part of a nondisclosure agreement, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani told Fox News' Sean Hannity in a televised interview late Wednesday.
Update 3:10 p.m. EDT May 3: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday that she didn’t learn that President Donald Trump reimbursed his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, for a payment he made to adult film star Stormy Daniels until Wednesday.
“As Mayor Giuliani stated, and I’ll refer you back to his comments, this was information that the president didn’t know at the time but eventually learned,” she said Thursday at a news briefing.
The press secretary had previously said that officials were unaware of payments made by Cohen to Daniels.
“The first awareness I had was during the interview last night,” Huckabee Sanders said. “The president has denied and continues to deny the underlying claim.”
Daniels has said that she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006, after she met him at a celebrity golf tournament. Cohen paid her $130,000 days before the 2016 election in exchange for her silence on the alleged affair. Trump previously denied any knowledge of the payment.
Daniels has sued to break the non-disclosure agreement, claiming it wasn’t valid because it wasn’t signed by Trump.
Update, 6:48 a.m. EDT Thursday: President Donald Trump took to Twitter early Thursday to weigh in on the latest revelations in the Stormy Daniels scandal after Rudy Giuliani, now a member of his legal team, spoke to Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Wednesday.
Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, “received a monthly retainer, not from the campaign and having nothing to do with the campaign, from which he entered into, through reimbursement, a private contract between two parties, known as a nondisclosure agreement, or NDA. These agreements are very common among celebrities and people of wealth. In this case it is in full force and effect and will be used in Arbitration for damages against Ms. Clifford (Daniels). The agreement was used to stop the false and extortionist accusations made by her about an affair despite already having signed a detailed letter admitting that there was no affair. Prior to its violation by Ms. Clifford and her attorney, this was a private agreement. Money from the campaign, or campaign contributions, played no roll [sic] in this transaction.”
ORIGINAL STORY: President Donald Trump repaid personal attorney Michael Cohen for an October 2016 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels as part of a nondisclosure agreement, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani told Fox News' Sean Hannity in a televised interview late Wednesday.
Giuliani, who recently joined Trump's legal team, told Hannity that the $130,000 payment to Daniels, who signed the agreement to keep quiet about an alleged 2006 affair with Trump, "is going to turn out to be perfectly legal."
"That money was not campaign money," Giuliani said. "Sorry, I'm giving you a fact now that you don't know: It's not campaign money, no campaign finance violation."
"They funneled it through a law firm," Hannity said.
"Funneled it through a law firm and the president repaid it," Giuliani replied.
"Oh, I didn't know he did," Hannity said.
Giuliani added that Trump "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."
Later Wednesday, Giuliani told The Washington Post that he didn't know when Trump found out about the payment, adding that Trump only recently became aware of some details.
"I don't know if he distinguished it from other things Cohen might have done for him during the campaign," Giuliani told the Post.
According to Cox Media Group Washington correspondent Jamie Dupree, Trump previously told reporters that he didn't know about Cohen's payment to Daniels, who now claims that the agreement is invalid and also is suing Trump for defamation.
On April 5, aboard Air Force One, Trump was asked directly by reporters about the matter.
“Mr. President, did you know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels?” one reporter asked.
"No," Trump replied.
According to The Associated Press, “the payment to Daniels has raised numerous legal questions, including whether it was an illegal campaign contribution and, now, loan.”
– Cox Media Group Washington correspondent Jamie Dupree and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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