Giuliani: Trump repaid Cohen $130K for payment to porn sta

Giuliani says Trump repaid $130,000 his lawyer spent to quiet porn star

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump reimbursed his personal lawyer for $130,000 in hush money paid to a porn actress days before the 2016 presidential election, a Trump attorney said Wednesday, appearing to contradict the president’s past claims that he didn’t know the source of the money. During an appearance on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity,” Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said the money to repay Michael Cohen had been “funneled … through the law firm and the president repaid it.” Asked if Trump knew about the arrangement, Giuliani said: “He 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, like I take care of things like this for my clients. I don’t burden them with every single thing that comes along. These are busy people.”

The comments appear to contradict statements made by Trump several weeks ago, when he said he didn’t know about the payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels as part of a nondisclosure agreement she signed days before the presidential election.

Guiliani’s revelation seemed aimed at reducing the president’s legal exposure. But outside experts said it raised a number of questions, including whether the money represented repayment of an undisclosed loan or could be seen as reimbursement for a campaign expenditure.

Asked aboard Air Force One last month whether he knew about the payment, Trump said flatly: “No.” Trump also said he didn’t know why Cohen had made the payment or where he got the money.

In a phone interview with “Fox and Friends” last week, however, Trump appeared to muddy the waters, saying that Cohen represented him in the “crazy Stormy Daniels deal.” Giuliani, a former New York City mayor and ex-U.S. attorney who joined Trump’s legal team last month, said the president had repaid Cohen over several months, indicating the payments continued through at least the presidential transition, if not into his presidency. He also said the payment “is going to turn out to be perfectly legal” because “that money was not campaign money.” No debt to Cohen is listed on Trump’s personal financial disclosure form, which was certified on June 16, 2017. Giuliani also described the payment to Daniels as “a very regular thing for lawyers to do.” Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, called the comment “a stunning revelation.” “Mr. Trump evidently has participated in a felony and there must be serious consequences for his conduct and his lies and deception to the American people,” he said. Andrew Herman, an attorney specializing in campaign finance law at Miller & Chevalier, said Giuliani’s argument that this was a private payment unrelated to the campaign appears to be “pretty far-fetched” given the timing – weeks before the election while Trump was under fire for his behavior with women and for an “Access Hollywood” tape in which he spoke of groping women without their consent.