- In a statement released Friday, Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s new lawyer, walked back some of his recent comments.
- Giuliani said a $US130,000 hush-money payment to an adult-film actress in October 2016 wasn’t connected to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
- He added that previous comments had reflected his “understanding of these matters,” not Trump’s.
President Donald Trump’s new lead attorney, Rudy Giuliani, sought on Friday to “clarify the views” he expressed in a series of jaw-dropping interviews this week about a $US130,000 hush-money payment to an adult-film actress in October 2016.
Giuliani told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Wednesday that Trump had repaid Michael Cohen, his longtime attorney, for the payment to Stormy Daniels, who says she had an affair with Trump a decade ago.
Cohen had previously denied that he was reimbursed, and Trump had denied even knowing about the payment.
Giuliani then suggested on “Fox & Friends” on Thursday that Cohen’s payment to Daniels was linked to Trump’s candidacy, raising questions about whether it violated campaign-finance laws stipulating that an individual can give up to $US2,700 to a candidate or a campaign in an election. Experts have said that such a payment could be considered an in-kind political contribution and could thus be a violation.
“Imagine if that came out on October 15, 2016, in the middle of the last debate with Hillary Clinton,” Giuliani said on Thursday. “Cohen didn’t even ask. Cohen made it go away. He didn’t even ask.”
But in a statement on Friday, Giuliani walked back the remarks, saying the payment was unrelated to Trump’s 2016 campaign.
“There is no campaign violation. The payment was made to resolve a personal and false allegation in order to protect the President’s family,” Giuliani said. “It would have been done in any event, whether he was a candidate or not.”
Giuliani’s statement also attributed his recent remarks to his understanding of the events and not information he had received directly from Trump.
“My references to timing were not describing my understanding of the President’s knowledge, but instead, my understanding of these matters,” Giuliani said.
On Friday morning, Trump seemed to undercut Giuliani, telling reporters that Giuliani would “get his facts straight.”
“He’s learning the subject matter,” Trump said, adding that Giuliani started working for him just the day before.
Trump later said his team was “not changing any stories” about the payment. He accused media outlets of focusing on this “kind of crap” instead of on more positive news about his leadership.
Read Giuliani’s full statement:
This is intended to clarify the views I expressed over the past few days.
These are my views:
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.
My references to timing were not describing my understanding of the President’s knowledge, but instead, my understanding of these matters.
It is undisputed that the President’s dismissal of former Director Comey – an inferior executive officer – was clearly within his Article II power. Recent revelations about former Director Comey further confirm the wisdom of the President’s decision, which was plainly in the best interests of our nation.
Allan Smith contributed reporting.
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