President Trump knew about Stormy Daniels payment 'several months' before he denied it, report says
President Trump knew about the six-figure payment that was made to porn actress Stormy Daniels "several months" before he denied any knowledge of it when speaking to reporters onboard Air Force One last month, The New York Times reported Friday.
Questions about the payment resurfaced earlier this week after Trump's attorney, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, said that the president repaid Michael Cohen for money given to Daniels to keep quiet about an alleged affair she had with Trump.
Citing people familiar with the matter, the Times reported that Trump knew Cohen, his personal attorney, had succeeded in silencing Daniels' allegations at the time he denied knowing about the hush money in April. The Times report did not mention exactly when Trump learned about the payment.
Changing his story Thursday, Trump acknowledged a $130,000 payment to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, but said a non-disclosure agreement was "used to stop the false and extortionist accusations made by her about an affair."
On Friday, Giuliani issued a statement saying he made mistakes regarding a timeline on the Daniels payment which came hours after Trump rebuked him, telling reporters the ex-New York City mayor needs to get his stories straight.
The Times also mentioned that Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg has known since last year that Cohen was being reimbursed in the form of $35,000 monthly payments. The money, according to the Times, came from the trust that contains Trump's personal fortune.
The $130K question: What the White House has said about the Stormy Daniels payoff
Campaign finance groups said the $130,000 payment, made less than two weeks before the 2016 election, amounted to an in-kind campaign contribution, and should have been reported as such.
The organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics has filed a complaint with the Department of Justice and the Office of Government Ethics asking them to investigate whether Giuliani’s disclosures show that Trump violated federal ethics laws or laws against making false statements in not reporting the payment.
Contributing: David Jackson and Gregory Korte