Rudy Giuliani said on Wednesday that Donald Trump repaid his attorney, Michael Cohen, $130,000 for a payment that Cohen had made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels to keep quiet, CNN is reporting. Giuliani’s remarks contradict statements Trump has made that he did not know about the payment.
Speaking to Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Giuliani insisted that the payment was “perfectly legal,” in response to the notion that Trump and/or Cohen may have violated campaign finance law by paying hush money on the eve of the 2016 presidential election.
“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.”
And when Hannity suggested that “funneling” the money through Cohen’s law firm kept the payment running afoul of the law, Giuliani seemed to confirm Hannity’s suggestion.
“Funneled it through the law firm, and the president repaid him.”
It wasn’t just to Hannity that Giuliani confirmed the Stormy Daniels payment. After the Hannity interview, Giuliani spoke to the Wall Street Journal, once again confirming the payment and reiterating his belief that the payment did not violate campaign finance law.
Continuing his Wednesday night press tour, Giuliani also spoke to the Washington Post about a slightly related topic.
— The Hill (@thehill) May 3, 2018
Apparently aware of Trump’s history of firing employees who run afoul of him, Giuliani told the Washington Post that he and Trump spoke in advance about his plans to confirm that Trump knew about the payment and that he (Giuliani) doesn’t expect to be fired.
On Thursday morning, Donald Trump himself also confirmed the payment to Daniels (real name: Stephanie Clifford). As USA Today reports, Trump began a Twitter storm explaining that the payment was “used to stop the false and extortionist accusations made by her about an affair.” He reiterated that the payment came from Cohen, not himself or his campaign. He also said that non-disclosure agreements are not uncommon among “people of wealth” such as himself.
However, Trump and Giuliani’s contentions that the payment did not violate campaign finance law may not be entirely true. So says George Conway, husband of White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway. In a tweet, Conway quoted the relevant section of campaign finance law.
“If any person, including a relative or friend of the candidate, gives or loans the candidate money ‘for the purpose of influencing any election for federal office,’ the funds are not considered personal funds of the candidate even if they are given to the candidate directly. Instead, the gift or loan is considered a contribution from the donor to the campaign, subject to the per-election limit and reportable by the campaign.”
Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti responded to Giuliani’s comments by “thanking” him for helping Stormy’s case.
“Whatever happens @foxandfriends, please do not stop helping our case week in and week out by having Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani appear and make damaging stmts. You are truly THE BEST; where can we send the gift basket? #basta”