Giuliani Clarifies Statements on Stormy Payment, Comey Firing

FILE – In this Nov. 20, 2016, file photo, then-President-elect Donald Trump, right, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani pose for photographs as Giuliani arrives at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse in Bedminster, N.J. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

(CN) – President Donald Trump told a group of reporters Friday that his new lawyer Rudy Giuliani just needs to “get his facts straight” regarding a nondisclosure agreement with adult film actress Stormy Daniels, which Giuliani attempted to do in a statement released shortly after.

Earlier this week, Giuliani told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen was repaid the $130,000 he gave Daniels as hush money in 2016, shortly before the presidential election.

According to Giuliani, Trump’s repayment to Cohen was legal since the money came from Trump’s personal bank account and not from campaign funds.

“It’s going to turn out to be perfectly legal,” Giuliani told Hannity. “That money was not campaign money. Sorry, I’m giving you a fact that you don’t know. It’s not campaign money. No campaign finance violation.”

The statement contradicted Trump’s claims that he had no knowledge of the payment.

Giuliani clarified his comments Friday, saying his knowledge of the timeline of events was his own.

“There is no campaign violation. The payment was made to resolve a personal and false allegation in order to protect the president’s family. It would have been done in any event, whether he was a candidate or not,” Giuliani said in a statement.

“Second: My references to timing were not describing my understanding of the president’s knowledge, but instead, my understanding of these matters,” he added.

He made his second point in reference to his statement on Hannity’s show, in which he said, “Imagine if [the Daniels affair] came out on Oct. 15, 2016 in the middle of the last debate with Hillary Clinton.”

Giuliani also walked back his comment that Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey because Comey would not tell Trump if he was a target in the Russian investigation.

Before Giuliani released his statement, Trump called the former New York mayor “a great guy.”

“Rudy is a great guy, but he just started a day ago,” Trump told reporters on the south lawn of the White House.

He later added: “He’s working hard. He’s learning the subject matter. Rudy knows it’s a witch hunt. He started yesterday. He’ll get his facts straight,” Trump said.

Adult film actress Stormy Daniels speaks outside federal court in New York on April 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, file)

On Thursday, the president took to Twitter to let his followers know hush agreements like the one Cohen facilitated with Daniels are “very common among celebrities and people of wealth.”

“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 nondisclosure agreement, or NDA. These agreements are very common among celebrities and people of wealth,” Trump tweeted.

His Thursday tweets stand in stark contrast to what he said during a phone appearance on “Fox and Friends” last month, when he said Cohen did represent him in the deal with Daniels – a claim that walked back his previous denial of any knowledge of the nondisclosure agreement.

Daniels, real name Stephanie Clifford, signed the nondisclosure agreement with Cohen for her silence about an alleged affair with Trump in 2006. She sued Trump and Cohen earlier this year, claiming that the hush agreement was invalid because Trump did not sign it. She also sued Trump in a separate defamation case.

Last month, a federal judge in Los Angeles granted a 90-day stay in Daniels’ original lawsuit, because Cohen may face a possible indictment in the criminal investigation by the FBI.

Meanwhile, Daniels’ Los Angeles-based attorney Michael Avenatti seeks a copy of a report from the U.S. Treasury Department relating to the $130,000 payment as part of Daniels’ lawsuit against Trump, Cohen and a limited liability company created to broker the nondisclosure agreement.

“There is no excuse for the refusal of the Treasury Dept. to release the Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) relating to the $130k payment,” Avenatti tweeted Friday. He wants members of Congress to subpoena the Treasury Department to get a copy of the report.

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