- President Donald Trump publicly acknowledged a $US130,000 payment his attorney made to porn star Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, in 2016 for the first time on Thursday.
- Trump denies knowing anything about the payment, including where his lawyer, Michael Cohen, got the money from.
For the first time, President Donald Trump has publicly acknowledged a $US130,000 payment his attorney made in 2016 to keep a porn star quiet about her claims that she had an affair with Trump a decade ago.
Speaking with reporters aboard Air Force One on Thursday, Trump said he didn’t know at the time that Michael Cohen, his personal lawyer, made the payment to Stormy Daniels and that he doesn’t know where Cohen got the money.
When asked why Cohen made the payment to the porn star, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, Trump refused to answer.
“You’ll have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael is my attorney,” he said. “You’ll have to ask Michael.”
Clifford claims that she had sex with Trump once in 2006, a few months after Trump’s wife Melania gave birth to the couple’s son, Barron. She also claims she continued to communicate with Trump for several months.
The president had dinner with Cohen on March 24, the night before the airing of a “60 Minutes” segment in which Clifford detailed her story of the affair and the subsequent silencing of her claims.
Clifford told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Sunday that she was threatened by an associate of Trump’s in 2011 shortly after she attempted to sell the story of her relationship with Trump to InTouch Magazine. The magazine reportedly killed the story after Cohen threated to sue. In January, InTouch published the transcript of a lengthy interview it conducted with Clifford in 2011.
In response to Trump’s Thursday comments, Clifford’s attorney, Michael Avenatti, said his client’s case “just got that much better.”
Just ten days before the 2016 election, Cohen sent Clifford $US130,000 through a Delaware-based entity he established to facilitate the transfer of what he says was his personal money.
Clifford sued the president on March 6, arguing that the nondisclosure agreement she said was designed to conceal the affair is invalid because the president never signed it. The suit claimed Trump “purposely did not sign the agreement so he could later, if need be, publicly disavow any knowledge of the Hush Agreement and Ms. Clifford.”
Cohen, who has admitted to facilitating the $US130,000 payment, denies the negotiations or the payment were made on behalf of the Trump Organisation or the Trump campaign, and says that he was never reimbursed.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders continues to maintain that the president denies having any relationship with Clifford and did not know about the payment or the non-disclosure agreement.
Reporter: "Mr. President, did you know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels?"
President Trump: "No." pic.twitter.com/wHTR7o5lqB
— NBC News (@NBCNews) April 5, 2018
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