Rudolph W. Giuliani said on Wednesday that President Trump reimbursed his personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, for a payment that Mr. Cohen has said he made to Stephanie Clifford, a pornographic film actress widely known by her stage name, Stormy Daniels. The payment of $130,000 was to keep her from speaking publicly before the 2016 election about an alleged sexual encounter with Mr. Trump.
Mr. Giuliani, a member of the president’s legal team, made the statement during an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News.
[Read our article about the interview.]
Below is a transcript of the exchange.
SEAN HANNITY: My question is, are you concerned within the process of this, we did discover that a foreign national, Christopher Steele, was paid through Fusion GPS, used Russian sources that not only weren’t verified, but were debunked — are you concerned that was paid for, to manipulate the American people in the lead-up to an election?
RUDOLPH W. GIULIANI: Isn’t that closer to the mandate than Michael Cohen?
HANNITY: Why isn’t that happening? Where’s Mueller on that, sir?
GIULIANI: Having something to do with paying some Stormy Daniels woman $130,000? Which, I mean, is going to turn out to be perfectly legal. 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.
HANNITY: They funneled it through a law firm.
GIULIANI: They funneled through a law firm, and the president repaid it.
HANNITY: Oh. I didn’t know that. He did.
HANNITY: There’s no campaign finance law.
GIULIANI: Zero. Just like every — Sean, Sean —
HANNITY: So this decision was made by —
GIULIANI: Everybody was nervous about this from the very beginning. I wasn’t. I knew how much money Donald Trump put into that campaign, and I said, “$130,000? He could do a couple of checks for $130,000.”
When I heard of Cohen’s retainer for $130,000, he was doing no work for the president. I said, “Well, that’s how he’s repaying it, with a little profit and a little margin for paying taxes for Michael.
HANNITY: But you know the president didn’t know about this?
GIULIANI: Ah, he 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. Like, I take care of this with my clients. I don’t burden them with every single thing that comes along. These are busy people.
HANNITY: As we continue with President Trump’s attorney, former New York City mayor, Rudy Giuliani, I want to clarify something. Because I was asking you about Perkins Coie and you said that the money was not campaign money — “I’m giving you a fact now that you don’t know, it’s not campaign money, no campaign violation.” And I said, “Because they funneled through a law firm.”
I think we were talking about two different things there. I want to make sure.
GIULIANI: I was talking about the $130,000 payment —
GIULIANI: The settlement payment, which is a very regular thing for lawyers to do. The question there was, the only possible violation there would be: Was it a campaign finance violation? Which usually results in a fine, by the way, not this big stormtroopers coming in and breaking down his apartment and breaking down his office.
That was money that was paid by his lawyer, the way I would do, out of his law firm funds or whatever funds — it doesn’t matter — and the president reimbursed that over the period of several months.
HANNITY: He had said, I distinctly remember, that he did it on his own —
GIULIANI: He did?
HANNITY: Without asking —
GIULIANI: I don’t know, I haven’t investigated that. No reason to dispute that, no reason to dispute that recollection. I like Michael a lot, you like Michael a lot —
HANNITY: I’ve known him a long time.
GIULIANI: I feel very bad he’s been victimized like this. The president feels even worse. The fact is, just trust me, they’re going to come up with no violations there. Payments are perfectly legal.