President Donald Trump said Thursday that he had no idea his attorney Michael Cohen had paid porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 in hush money just days before the 2016 election.
Cohen has said he made that move to prevent Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, from publicly claiming that she had an extramarital affair with the future president in 2006 and 2007, shortly after first lady Melania gave birth to their son Barron.
Speaking with reporters aboard Air Force One, Trump responded ‘No’ to a question about whether he had known Cohen paid Daniels, and insisted he had no knowledge of where the money came from.
Asked why Cohen wrote the six-figure check, Trump said: ‘You’ll have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael is my attorney.’
But the president ignored a question about whether he had set up a fund for Cohen to draw on for such purposes.
Cohen has said that he took out a home equity line of credit to withdraw the money, and that he never told then-candidate Trump about it.
President Donald Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One on Thursday that he had not been aware of a $130,000 hush-money payment his lawyer made to a porn star who claimed the two had a sexual affair more than a decade ago
Stormy Daniels got her six-figure payout in exchange for signing a nondisclosure agreement that she now wants to be released from
Michael Cohen, the president’s longtime corporate and personal lawyer, has said he took the money froma line of credit he established personally, based on equity in his own home
Cohen has also strenuously denied that Trump’s campaign or his real estate company, the Trump Organization, reimbursed him for the expense.
Daniels has turned her 15 minutes of fame into a months-long, made-for-TV saga, unleashing her lawyer Michael Avenatti to hint about physical evidence and predict a courtroom victory for his client.
Daniels seeks a judge’s ruling that would invalidate a nondisclosure agreement she signed in exchange for the $130,000 payment, claiming that it’s invalid because Trump himself never signed it – although Cohen did in his stead.
She upped the ante this week, with Avenatti claiming that parts of her recent ’60 Minutes’ interview were left on the cutting-room floor because the ‘conservative’ program didn’t want to air her claim that she could identify Trump’s private parts.
‘She can describe the president’s genitalia in great detail. That did not make it,’ Avenatti told NBC’s Megyn Kelly.
‘We don’t need to hear that!’ responded Kelly, as audience members gasped. ‘My eyes – look!’ she said as she covered them.
Trump talked with reporters Thursday aboard Air Force One on a flight from West Virginia back to Joint Base Andrews near Washington, D.C.
Michael Avenatti, Daniels’ lawyer, lobbed his latest salvo on the ‘Today’ show, telling host Megyn Kelly that his client could identify the president’s genitalia, and complaining that ’60 Minutes’ was too squeamish to air that claim
Daniels is pictured here in her March 25 interview broadcast on ’60 Minutes’
‘That did not make it in,’ Avenatti persisted.
‘And good for them,’ Kelly interjected.
Avenatti said the interview lasted two hours, but ’60 Minutes’ only aired about 14 to 16 minutes of footage. The interview late last month drew 22 million viewers, a decade-high, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Daniels has said in recent months that Trump invited her to his hotel room at a celebrity golf tournament she attended, and that the two carried on an affair for months.
Her nondisclosure agreement subjects her to fines of $1 million for each infraction an arbitrator rules was prohibited.
She and Avenatti have both offered to return the Cohen payment in exchange for being released from the agreement’s restrictions.
‘I will make the offer right now, if the president and Mr. Cohen agree that the agreement is null and void, we are done. We will deliver the money today,’ the lawyer said.