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Trump says Giuliani needs to ‘get facts straight’ on Stormy

  • President Donald Trump waves from the top of the steps of Air Force One at Dallas Love Field, Friday, May 4, 2018. Trump is in Dallas to address the NRA convention. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) Susan Walsh

  • President Donald Trump talks to the media as he leaves for Dallas to address the National Rifle Association, Friday, May 4, 2018 at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) J. Scott Applewhite

  • FILE - In this April 16, 2018, file photo, adult film actress Stormy Daniels, left, stands with her lawyer Michael Avenatti as she speaks outside federal court in New York. The story told by President Donald Trump and the White House about payments made to Daniels has evolved over time. The White House has consistently denied Trump had an affair with Daniels, but statements from the president and his aides about a hush money payment made just before the 2016 election have changed. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File) Mary Altaffer

  • FILE - In this Jan. 12, 2017, file photo, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani talks with reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York. Giuliani's revelation that U.S. President Donald Trump reimbursed his personal attorney for a 130,000 payment to a porn star to keep her quiet about an alleged affair is raising new legal questions, including whether the president and his campaign violated campaign finance laws. Giuliani insisted on Fox News Channel Wednesday night, May 2, 2018, that the payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels was "going to turn out to be perfectly legal." (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File) Evan Vucci



Associated Press
Friday, May 04, 2018

President Donald Trump suggested Friday that Rudy Giuliani, the aggressive new face of his legal team, needed to “get his facts straight” about the hush money paid to porn actress Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 election. Giuliani quickly came up with a new version.

Trump chided Giuliani even as he insisted that “we’re not changing any stories” about the $130,000 settlement, which was paid to Daniels to keep her quiet about her allegations of an affair with Trump.. Hours later, Giuliani backed away from his previous suggestion that the Oct. 27 settlement had been made because Trump was in the stretch run of his campaign.

“The payment was made to resolve a personal and false allegation in order to protect the president’s family,” Giuliani said in a statement released Friday. “It would have been done in any event, whether he was a candidate or not.”

A day earlier, Giuliani had said on Fox News: “Imagine if that came out on October 15, 2016, in the middle of the last debate with Hillary Clinton.”

Trump said Friday that Giuliani was “a great guy but he just started a day ago” and the former mayor of New York City was still “learning the subject matter.” Giuliani revealed this week that Trump knew about the payment to Daniels made by his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, and the president paid Cohen back.

Giuliani insisted Trump didn’t know the specifics of Cohen’s arrangement with Daniels until recently, telling Fox & Friends on Thursday that the president didn’t know all the details until “maybe 10 days ago.” Giuliani told the New York Times that Trump had repaid Cohen $35,000 a month “out of his personal family account” after the campaign was over. He said Cohen received $460,000 or $470,000 in all for expenses related to Trump.

Giuliani’s suggestion that the president knew anything about the payments – even as a monthly retainer – appeared to contradict Trump, who has repeatedly denied the affair and told reporters on Air Force One last month that he hadn’t known about a settlement with Daniels.

Trump’s irritation was plain Friday when reporters reminded him of his previous denial. He blasted the media for focusing on “crap” stories like the Daniels matter and the special counsel’s probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

The president claimed that “virtually everything” reported about the payments – which are the subject of swirling legal action and frenzied cable newsbreaks – has been wrong. But he declined to elaborate.

It was Trump’s own team’s missteps that yielded another day of headlines about Daniels. In his statement, Giuliani said his previous “references to timing were not describing my understanding of the president’s knowledge, but instead, my understanding of these matters.” He didn’t elaborate on that either.

Giuliani’s statement correcting himself came just a day after he said, “You won’t see daylight between me and the president.”

The about-face came amid concern in the White House that Giuliani’s comments could leave the president legally vulnerable.

While Giuliani repeated his belief that the payment did not constitute a campaign finance violation, legal experts have said the new information raises questions, including whether the money represented repayment of an undisclosed loan or could be seen as reimbursement for a campaign expenditure. Either could be legally problematic.

The episode also revived worries in Trump’s inner circle about Giuliani, who enjoys the media limelight and has a tendency to go off script. He had been widely expected to join Trump’s administration but was passed over for secretary of state, the position he badly wanted.

His whirlwind press tour this week bewildered West Wing aides, who were cut out of the decision-making process when Giuliani first revealed that Trump – who often boasts about signing his own checks – had some knowledge about the payment.