President Donald Trump insisted Thursday morning that his longtime personal attorney acted outside the auspices of the 2016 Trump campaign when he paid porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 as part of a nondisclosure agreement, and that the president’s reimbursements to his lawyer was not made from campaign funds.
The president’s statement, delivered via Twitter, follows the Wednesday night revelation from Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani that the president had indeed reimbursed his lawyer, Michael Cohen, for the payments to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.
That concession from Giuliani ran counter to previous statements from the president himself, who told reporters last month that he did not know about the payment, and from Cohen, who has said he made the payment from his personal funds and was not reimbursed.
“Mr. Cohen, an attorney, received a monthly retainer, not from the campaign and having nothing to do with the campaign, from which he entered into, through reimbursement, a private contract between two parties, known as a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA,” Trump wrote on Twitter, stretching his message across three posts to accommodate the social media site’s character limit. “These agreements are very common among celebrities and people of wealth.”
“In this case it is in full force and effect and will be used in Arbitration for damages against Ms. Clifford (Daniels). The agreement was used to stop the false and extortionist accusations made by her about an affair despite already having signed a detailed letter admitting that there was no affair,” the president continued on Twitter. “Prior to its violation by Ms. Clifford and her attorney, this was a private agreement. Money from the campaign, or campaign contributions, played no roll [sic] in this transaction.”
Daniels, who claims to have had sex with Trump 2006, is in the midst of multiple lawsuits against the president: One, in which Cohen is also named as a defendant, where she is seeking to void the nondisclosure agreement about the alleged affair because it was never signed by the president and another in which she is suing Trump for defamation over a post to Twitter where he suggested she had made up a story about being warned to “leave Trump alone” and “forget the story” by an unknown man in a Las Vegas parking lot in 2011.
Cohen’s involvement with Daniels appeared to become the subject of a federal investigation last month, when the FBI raided his home and office, as well as a hotel room he had been using while his home underwent renovations.
The payments to Daniels, which was made days before the 2016 election and went unreported to the Federal Election Commission, could constitute a violation of federal election law if it was made in order to protect the Trump campaign from political damage.