The Latest: Trump Says Daniels Payment Unrelated To Campaign
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and money paid to porn actress Stormy Daniels (all times local):
President Donald Trump insists his reimbursement of a 2016 hush payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels had nothing to do with his election campaign.
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.
White House aides were blindsided when Trump's recently added attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said Wednesday that the president had repaid Michael Cohen for $130,000 that was given to Daniels to keep her quiet before the 2016 election about her allegations of a sexual encounter with Trump.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says she first learned Trump had repaid the hush money from Giuliani's interview on Fox News Channel's "Hannity."
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says President Donald Trump "eventually learned" that attorney Michael Cohen was reimbursed for making a $130,000 hush payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels in the days before the 2016 election.
Sanders is referring specific questions about the case to Trump's legal counsel and referring other questions to attorney Rudy Giuliani's recent interviews.
Giuliani said in televised interviews that Trump didn't know the full details of the payments until about 10 days ago.
Sanders says her "first awareness" of the president reimbursing the $130,000 payment came during Giuliani's interview Wednesday night.
Asked if she was caught off-guard, Sanders says she is not part of the legal team and has tried to give reporters the "best information" she has.
Daniels has alleged a sexual tryst with the president in 2006. The White House has said Trump denies having a relationship with Daniels.
An attorney for President Donald Trump says the president didn't know the full details of his personal lawyer's arrangement with a porn actress until "maybe 10 days ago."
Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump's attorneys, appeared Thursday on "Fox and Friends." He says that Michael Cohen was reimbursed for making a $130,000 hush payment to Stormy Daniels in the days before the 2016 election to silence her allegations of a sexual encounter with Trump.
Giuliani says: "Cohen didn't even ask. Cohen made it go away. He did his job."
Giuliani described the payment as personal, not a campaign expense. He said that Trump denies the relationship, but Cohen may have seen $130,000 as "cheap."
Added Giuliani: "imagine if that came out on October 15, 2016, in the middle of the last debate with Hillary Clinton."
Stormy Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti, says if the revelations from Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani are true about the $130,000 payment to Daniel, then "that's a crime."
Avenatti tells MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that "there are serious consequences" if payments made through "law firm invoices for make-believe work or work that everyone always knew was never going to be performed" were submitted for reimbursement by the president for the $130,000 hush money to Daniels.
Avenatti says, "There may be money laundering. There may be bank fraud. There may be campaign finance violations."
He added, "Our case just got exponentially better in the last 24 hours."
Giuliani said Wednesday night that President Donald Trump reimbursed his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, for the payment made to Daniels.
President Donald Trump says reimbursement to his lawyer for hush money paid to porn actress Stormy Daniels was done through a monthly retainer and "had nothing to do with the campaign."
Trump says on Twitter Thursday that his personal attorney Michael Cohen received a monthly retainer "from which he entered into, through reimbursement, a private contract between two parties, known as a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA."
The president added that "The agreement was used to stop the false and extortionist accusations made by her about an affair."
Trump previously said he knew nothing about a $130,000 payment made to Daniels days before the 2016 election in exchange for her silence about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump.
Trump's new attorney Rudy Giuilani said Wednesday on Fox News that Trump had reimbursed Cohen.
One of President Donald Trump's newest lawyers says the president reimbursed his own personal lawyer for $130,000 in hush money paid to a porn actress days before the 2016 presidential election.
The comments by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani during an appearance on Fox News' "Hannity" appear to contradict Trump's statements several weeks ago, when he said he didn't know about the payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels.
Outside experts say the revelation raises a number of questions, including whether the money represented repayment of an undisclosed loan or could be seen as reimbursement for a campaign expenditure.
In reaction to Giuliani's remarks, Daniels' lawyer, Michael Avenatti, said Trump evidently participated in a felony and that there must be serious consequences for his conduct.