US President Donald Trump was quick to defend payment to adult-film star Stormy Daniels on Thursday after Rudolph W Giuliani (pictured), a new member of his legal team, said the president personally reimbursed his lawyer Michael Cohen for the payment to Daniels.
Trump said the payment was part of Cohen’s monthly retainer. He tweeted that non-disclosure agreements are common among celebrities and people of wealth. In the present case, it is in full force and will be used in arbitration for damages against Daniels.
He said the agreement was used to stop the false and extortionist accusations made by Daniels about an affair which did not exist.
But Giuliani’s disclosure seems to contradict Trump’s consistent stand that he was unaware of Cohen’s $130,000 payment to Daniels.
Cohen has admitted to making the payment, but it was not clear whether Trump was aware of it.
Participating in a Fox News show on Wednesday, Giuliani said the payment was perfectly legal and that Trump was aware of only the basic details.
Trump did not know the specifics of the payment, but knew Cohen would take care of such things, Guliani, a long-time confidant of Trump and former New York mayor, said.
He said Trump’s debt to Cohen was “funnelled through the law firm and the president repaid it” over the course of several months.
There was no campaign money involved in the payment and no finance violation, he said.
Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, said Giuliani’s comments indicate that Trump “participated in a felony”.
The president lied and deceived the American people and he should face the consequences for his conduct, Avenatti, said.