Former Mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani claimed on Wednesday that President Donald Trump repaid his personal attorney Micheal Cohen a sum of $130,000 to keep adult film star, Stormy Daniels, quiet.
The shocking claims were made in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity. Giuliani said that the payment was going to turn out to be completely legal and no campaign finance laws had been broken as the money was not campaign money. He said that the money was funnelled through Cohen’s law firm and repaid by the president.
When recently asked about the payment on Air Force One, President Trump denied having any knowledge of it. He directed the questions towards his attorney saying, “You’ll have to ask Micheal Cohen – Micheal’s my attorney”.
Cohen has admitted that he made the payment personally, out of his own pocket and neither the Trump Organisation nor the Trump Campaign paid him. Cohen also clarified that both organisations did not directly or indirectly reimburse him in any way. That statement ruled out President Trump paying him back, up until now. Now it’s Rudy’s word against Cohen’s.
In an interview with Fox News, the Special Assistant to the President & Deputy Press Secretary, Hogan Gidley, responded to the news by stating that ‘we have nothing to say about it’. He reiterated several times that since the case was ongoing legislation, questions would have to be directed to the president’s outside counsel.
Later in the interview, Guiliani said the the re-payment was made over several months. He also added that the president did not know exactly where the finances were being spent but they were given to Cohen to handle ‘things like this’.
Guiliani said that Trump only became aware of the exact nature of the payments after the case became public and Cohen’s office and house were raided by the FBI. He claimed that the payments were completed in 2017, before the exhaustion of Daniels’ non-disclosure agreement.
Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels’ attorney tweeted about the revelations saying, “We predicted months ago that it would be proven that the American people had been lied to as to the $130k payment and what Mr. Trump knew, when he knew it and what he did in connection with it.” He added that “Every American, regardless of their politics should be outraged.”
He also called Trump a blatant liar and said that his team would not rest until justice was served. Avenatti also told CNN that he was ‘stunned and speechless’ at Giuliani’s comments.
Giuliani joined Trump’s legal team nearly two weeks ago to aid in the on-going Mueller case regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election. Giuliani’s comments may have put the president in some trouble now as knowledge campaign finance laws constitutes a crime.
The Guardian’s Matt Seaton was correct to point out that Giuliani, who is a ‘former prosecutor, NYC mayor, and commercial lawyer’ would not have made the statements that he made mistakenly or unintentionally. There is likely to be a ‘well-defined strategy’ behind his move.