In a stunning departure from President Donald Trump’s own account, Rudy Giuliani, acting as the president’s lawyer, said that Trump himself financed the $130,000 hush money payment to Stephanie Clifford (known as Stormy Daniels) to keep quiet about an alleged affair.
Trump has previously denied having any knowledge of this payment, and his lawyer Michael Cohen has said he paid the money out of his own funds. Giuliani’s contradictory remarks came Wednesday night in conversation with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
The payment has been reported to be a subject of a federal investigation of Cohen. Some have argued that the payment was a campaign finance violation.
Guiliani 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 the law firm,” Hannity said.
“Funnelled it through the law firm, and the president repaid it,” Guiliani said.
“Oh,” Hannity said. “I didn’t know — he did?”
While Fox News appeared to try to play down the information, the other news networks and news outlets immediately began reporting the revelation.
“I am stunned and speechless,” Michael Avenatti, Clifford’s lawyer, said to CNN reporter MJ Lee. “If this is accurate, the American people have been lied to and deceived for months. And justice must be served.”
MSNBC host and legal analyst Ari Melber tweeted: “This is big news considering Trump had claimed not to know about it, then threw Cohen under the bus about it, now his lead Russia lawyer is publicly claiming Trump was behind the Stormy payment?”
Watch the clip below:
? Giuliani says Trump repaid Cohen the $130,000 used as hush money for Stormy Daniels pic.twitter.com/pqNtZthgwf
— Jon Passantino (@passantino) May 3, 2018