President Trump, in a series of tweets Thursday, defended reimbursing $130,000 to his personal lawyer Michael Cohen for a payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, arguing that it’s “common among celebrities and people of wealth” and that no campaign money was used.
“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 ,” the president wrote in the first of three tweets about the payment, revealed Wednesday by Rudy Giuliani.
” 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) ,” Trump continued in his most extensive comments so far about the Daniels matter.
“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.
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 in this transaction.”
Giuliani, the former New York mayor who recently joined Trump’s legal team, told Fox News host Sean Hannity that the president reimbursed Cohen for the payment, contradicting the president’s earlier statements that he knew nothing about the arrangement or payment.
“I’m giving you a fact that you don’t know,” Giuliani said. “It’s not campaign money. No campaign finance violation. They funneled through a law firm and the president repaid it.”
Trump, asked aboard Air Force One last month about the $130,000 payment, said “No.”
Cohen has said he used his own money for the payment to Daniels less than two weeks before the 2016 election as part of a nondisclosure agreement she signed not to talk about a sexual affair she alleges she had with Trump in 2006.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, and her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, are challenging the validity of that agreement because they say Trump never signed it.
They have also sued Cohen and the president for defamation.