Donald Trump personally repaid lawyer Michael Cohen the $130,000 that was used to buy Stormy Daniels’ silence about an alleged affair, his legal aide Rudy Giuliani has said.
It appears to contradict President Trump, who said he did not know about the payment made by lawyer Michael Cohen to Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election.
Donald Trump has denied Stormy Daniels’ claims of an affair in 2006.
The former New York City mayor said no campaign finance was used, a key issue in the matter.
Rudy Giuliani recently joined President Trump’s legal team and was talking to Sean Hannity on Fox News.
The campaign finance issue appears to be one his main motives – to deny that there was any wrongdoing.
Michael Cohen’s $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 election could count as an illegal contribution to President Trump’s campaign.
Rudy Giuliani said: “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.
“They funneled it through a law firm and the president repaid it.”
He said the repayment was made “over a period of several months”.
Rudy Giuliani added that the president “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”.
When asked by reporters a month ago if he knew about the payment to Stormy Daniels, President Trump said: “No.”
When asked why the payment was given to Stormy Daniels, the president added: “You’ll have to ask Michael Cohen.”
President Trump might argue that the lawyer “took care of things like this”, as Rudy Giuliani suggested and that he knew nothing of the “specifics”, making the repayment personally later.
Speaking on Fox TV last week, President Trump suggested some knowledge of the matter in admitting Michael Cohen had represented him during the “crazy Stormy Daniels deal”, but did not go into specifics.
Michael Cohen, for his part, told the New York Times in February: “Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly.”
If Michael Cohen did co-ordinate with the Trump campaign, the $130,000 payment would be a violation of federal election law.
Rudy Giuliani’s comments also raise the question of whether President Trump was repaying an undisclosed loan. Donald Trump’s personal financial disclosure form from June 2017 makes no mention of a debt to Michael Cohen.
Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, said that Americans “should be outraged” at Rudy Giuliani’s comments.
He tweeted: “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.”
The payment relates to allegations by Stormy Daniels that she had relations with Donald Trump in 2006, allegations he denies.
After initially denying the payment, Michael Cohen eventually admitted he had paid the sum privately to Stormy Daniels, real name Stephanie Clifford, in October 2016 out of his own funds in exchange for her silence in a non-disclosure agreement.
Michael Cohen denied that Donald Trump was a party to the transaction.
The lawyer is now facing a criminal investigation. FBI agents searched his home and office in New York recently in relation to the nondisclosure agreement.
Two months ago, Stormy Daniels filed a lawsuit against the president, alleging that the agreement was invalid because Donald Trump did not sign it.