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While talking with reporters on Air Force One a month ago, President Donald Trump said he didn’t know about a $130,000 payment made to porn actress Stormy Daniels to cover up an alleged affair between the two.
It’s unclear when exactly the president knew about the payment, though the Times reports the chief financial officer of the Trump organization knew since last year that Trump had reimbursed Cohen.
This is a story that’s returned to the spotlight after Rudy Giuliani, recently hired as one of Trump’s lawyers, went on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show this week and admitted that Trump had reimbursed Cohen and that he knew he was doing it, directly contradicting what Trump and Cohen had previously said.
“That money was not campaign money,” Giuliani said. “It’s not campaign money. No campaign finance violations… funneled through a law firm and then the president repaid it.”
Then, in a series of tweets, Trump confirmed Giuliani’s account.
“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. These agreements are very common among celebrities and people of wealth,” Trump said. “In this case it is in full force and effect and will be used in Arbitration for damages against Ms. Clifford (Daniels). 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 [sic] in this transaction.”
On Friday, Trump also said Giuliani is a great guy and that he’ll eventually “get his facts straight.”
If you’re confused about whether Trump knew about the payment and when he knew about the payment and whether the payment was a campaign violation, you’re certainly not alone. This week’s news has muddied those waters even more.
Josh Katzowitz is a staff writer at the Daily Dot specializing in YouTube and boxing. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. A longtime sports writer, he's covered the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.