Despite the president and his associates’ best efforts, the full truth surrounding the $130,000 in hush money delivered by Trump lawyer Michael Cohen to adult film star Stormy Daniels is continuing to come out.
The Trump team had dug in to their positions for some time before this week, claiming Cohen to have paid the money covering an affair between Daniels and the president of his own accord and the president to have known nothing about it. However, throwing a stick in the wheel of their defense, newly appointed Trump lawyer and longtime Trump ally Rudy Giuliani went on Fox News this past Wednesday night and said that the president had, actually reimbursed Cohen for the hush money, strongly implying, of course, that he knew about it.
Now, The New York Times is reporting that the president is unhappy with the way things have played out this week and was “displeased” with both Giuliani and the Fox host he was speaking to, Sean Hannity. Trump was irritated with Hannity because of the “language” he used to describe the hush money, according to The Times, having, for one, said that the money was “funneled” through a law firm.
Another important issue inherent in the way the hush money is described is whether or not it violated campaign finance law, since it wasn’t reported. If the money was a personal expense, then it did not, but Giuliani himself sought at one point to tie the deal to the 2016 presidential race.
After receiving a public dressing down from the president, who told reporters Friday that Giuliani would eventually “get his facts straight,” the former New York City mayor attempted to clarify his position. He offered a statement asserting that he had only been describing his own take on the situation and not that of the president, trying to backtrack on having tied the hush money for Daniels to the presidential race.
Even still, no matter how many times the president or his allies assert that the payment was to save his family from embarrassment and not to prop up his campaign, the fact remains that the hush money was dished out squarely in the context of the 2016 presidential race.
In that light, for Giuliani to have complicated the Trump team’s defense is poised, as The Times reports, to cast a chillness over the relationship between the two men.
Trump and his lawyer Michael Cohen are already facing formal legal scrutiny over the deal. Daniels herself is both suing the president for defamation and suing to be free from the nondisclosure agreement associated with the hush money, and Cohen is facing a criminal investigation covering the payment and other topics.
According to the report from The Times laying out the president’s attitude towards Giuliani and Hannity following the former’s Wednesday Fox appearance, the president was truly in on the whole arrangement for longer than he has let on.
Although the Trump team has tried to cling to the defense of the president having repaid Cohen without knowing what the money was being used for, The Times reports that the president actually knew about the arrangement for “several months.”
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