Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani suggested Thursday that a payment from the president’s longtime personal attorney to porn actress Stormy Daniels in the days leading up to the 2016 election was intended to silence allegations of an affair at a sensitive time for the Trump campaign.
“Imagine if that came out on October 15th, 2016, in the middle of the, you know, last debate with Hillary Clinton,” Giuliani told Fox News’s “Fox & Friends” of the $130,000 payment made by Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer. “Cohen didn't even ask. Cohen made it go away. He did his job.”
Daniels has alleged that she had an affair with Trump in 2006 and is in the midst of two lawsuits against the president: one to be released from a nondisclosure agreement that she says is invalid because Trump never signed it and another suing the president for defamation over a tweet in which he accused her of making up a 2011 episode in which she claims to have been threatened by an unknown man to “leave Trump alone” in a Las Vegas parking lot.
Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, was insistent though that the payment to Daniels was unrelated to Trump’s 2016 campaign. The newly installed member of Trump’s legal team said it was “clear as a bell” that Cohen had been reimbursed for his payment to Daniels through a retainer fee and not from campaign funds.
That Cohen was reimbursed for the payment at all was revealed only Wednesday night by Giuliani, who shared that detail in an interview with Fox News’s Sean Hannity. Trump had previously said he was unaware of the $130,000 payment to Daniels and Cohen has said he made the payment out of his own money and was never reimbursed.
The payment to Daniels, which first came to light earlier this year and was not reported to the Federal Election Commission, has become the source of significant legal trouble for the president, including two lawsuits brought by Daniels and an FBI raid on Cohen’s home, office and a hotel room he was using. Such a payment could be a violation of federal election law if it was made to protect the Trump campaign from political damage.
But Giuliani insisted Cohen initiated the payment not out of concern for Trump's political reputation but out of personal concern and concern for his family. The former New York mayor said that “if you’re wealthy, you’re a target.”
“This was for personal reasons. This was – the president had been hurt personally – not politically, personally – so much, and the first lady, by some of the false allegations, that one more false allegation, six years old, I think he was trying to help the family,” Giuliani said. “For that, the man is being treated like some kind of villain. And I think he was just being a good lawyer and a good man.”
“It wasn't for the campaign. It was to save their – not their marriage as much as their reputation,” Giuliani said.