Rudy Giuliani says Trump reimbursed Michael Cohen for $130K Stormy Daniels payment

Rudy Giuliani says Trump reimbursed Michael Cohen for $130K Stormy Daniels payment

But the surprise revelation of the president's payment clashed with his past statements, created new legal headaches and stunned many in the West Wing.

Some legal experts say Giuliani may even have made things worse, not only for the president but also for Michael Cohen, the lawyer who paid Stormy Daniels $130,000 shortly before the 2016 election to stay quiet about an alleged sexual liaison with Trump. "When you have a retainer, you still have to report what you're charging." he said.

The President has since distanced himself from Cohen, who was formerly a top confidant, telling Fox News last week that Cohen had overseen "a tiny, tiny little fraction" of his legal work. "And assuming that Trump paid back Cohen, they would have violated (campaign finance) law by failing to report his reimbursement if Cohen was acting entirely independently and Trump knew nothing about it".

"Giuliani did not materially improve the president's position".

"They funneled it through a law firm", he said. "It's mystifying to me". He is facing a criminal investigation in NY and FBI agents raided his home and office several weeks ago. Giuliani and Trump may have been anticipating that, and trying to get ahead of any disclosure.

He added, "You'll have to ask Michael Cohen".

Originally, the president's Russian Federation legal strategy leaned on White House Counsel Don McGahn and two of his longtime personal attorneys, Michael Cohen and Marc Kasowitz. As Paul S. Ryan, the group's vice president for policy and litigation, noted, the campaign could have disclosed the $130,000 as a campaign expenditure - say, a "legal services" expenditure to the limited liability corporation that Cohen had set up for the payment. Mr. Trump stood on (Air Force One) and blatantly lied.

Throughout the day, the dominant story on cable news - without question - was Rudy Giuliani's bombshell interview with Sean Hannity.

Mr Trump as candidate would have been permitted to make unlimited personal contributions to his own campaign.

"These agreements are very common among celebrities and people of wealth", Trump added.

He said the payment was aimed at stopping "false and extortionist accusations" Daniels made about a sexual encounter with Trump. "There was no knowledge of any payments from the President and he's denied all of these allegations".

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

Earlier, his legal aide Rudy Giuliani said the money was Mr Trump's personal cash. Cohen made it go away. "He did his job".

In addition to the Russian Federation questions, Giuliani said investigators could ask about possible obstruction of justice related to Trump's firing a year ago of then-FBI Director James Comey. "The funds were taken from my home equity line and transferred internally to my L.L.C. account in the same bank", he said. "That removes the campaign finance violation, and we have all the documentary proof for it".

Federal enforcement, however, is notably lax and slow-moving.

But Giuliani contradicted that statement on Thursday, telling "Fox & Friends" that Cohen was "definitely reimbursed". "When I can answer, I will", she said.

"They said it wasn't true", Giuliani said. First, he spoke to The Washington Post after his Hannity appearance, where he said that the Daniels payment, as well as "a few other situations", could have been "considered campaign expenses".

Giuliani said he was "not clear" whether Trump was aware of the payment to Daniels at the time it was made, according to The Times. Trump acknowledged a non-disclosure agreement with her to secure her silence.

And if it's willful, that moves it from a civil problem that would be handled by the Federal Election Commission to potentially a criminal problem.

"Mr. Cohen, an attorney, 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 non-disclosure agreement, or NDA", Trump wrote on Twitter Thursday morning. "This is a bombshell", Avenatti told CNN.

That news shocked many including White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, who has for months claimed Trump had no prior knowledge of the payment.

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