Donald Trump personally repaid his lawyer Michael Cohen the 0,000 hush money given to the adult-film star Stormy Daniels days before the 2016 presidential election to buy her silence over an alleged affair, Rudy Giuliani said on Wednesday night.
In an interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News, the former mayor of New York, who recently joined Trump’s legal team dealing with the Russian investigation, let out the bombshell detail that the US president had fully repaid the hush money. The disclosure contradicts Trump’s own firm statement, made on Air Force One last month, that he had no knowledge of his private lawyer Michael Cohen having paid Daniels the 0,000 sum.
On the Hannity show, Giuliani insisted that the payment to Daniels, who claims she had sex with Trump in 2006 at a golf tournament in Nevada, was entirely legal and broke no campaign finance laws.
“So they funneled it through the law firm,” Hannity asked, referring to Cohen’s legal practice.
“Funnelled it through the law firm,” Giuliani concurred, “and the president repaid it.”
Hannity appeared to be surprised by the revelation. “Oh, I didn’t know that he did.”
“Yup,” said Giuliani.
Michael Avenatti, who represents Daniels, told CNBC: “This is exactly what we predicted would ultimately be shown. Every American, regardless of their politics, should be outraged.”
By disclosing Trump’s own financial involvement in the hush money, Giuliani and the president might be making the calculation that pain today is merited to minimize even greater grief further down the line. White House aides have been seriously concerned about the fallout of the FBI raid in April on the premises of Cohen’s law firm.
But it also puts Trump in a difficult spot in which he has to answer for his apparent contradictions over the handling of Stormy Daniels’ allegations in the final run-up to the 2016 election. Asked by reporters on 5 April while on board the official presidential jet whether he knew of the 0,000 payment, he bluntly replied: “No”.
Trump only finally admitted that Cohen had represented him in the Daniels negotiations last week. “He represents me, like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal, he represented me,” he said, again on Fox News.
But even then, Trump made no mention of the repayment, now made public by Giuliani.
Under questioning from Hannity, Giuliani went on in the Wednesday night interview to provide further details. He said that the 0,000 was initially paid for by Cohen but then “the president had reimbursed him over a period of several months”.
Asked by Hannity whether Trump had known about the payment, Giuliani appeared to dig the hole deeper when he said: “He didn’t know about the specifics as far as I know, but he did know about the general arrangement. Michael would take care of things like this.”
Giuliani alluded to the deep worry, bordering on panic, that had taken hold of the White House over the Daniels affair. “Everybody was nervous about this from the very beginning,” he said. Then he added: “I wasn’t.”
He went on: “I know how much Donald Trump put into that campaign. I said, ‘0,000. You are going to do a couple of checks for 0,000.”
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010
US Supreme Court Upholds Abortion Clinic Protest Zone Limits In Chicago, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday left in place policies in Chicago and Pennsylvania’s capital Harrisburg that place limits on anti-abortion activists gathered outside abortion clinics.
The justices declined to hear two appeals by anti-abortion groups and individual activists of lower court rulings upholding the cities’ ordinances.
The Chicago policy bars activists from coming within eight feet (2.4 meters) of someone within 50 feet (15 meters) of any healthcare facility without their consent if they intend to protest, offer counseling or hand out leaflets. The Harrisburg measure bars people from congregating or demonstrating within 20 feet (6 meters) of a healthcare facility’s entrance or exit.
Both cases pitted the free speech rights of anti-abortion protesters against public safety concerns raised by women’s healthcare providers regarding demonstrations outside clinics. There is a history of violent acts committed against abortion providers.
At issue before the Supreme Court was whether the ordinances violate free speech rights protected by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.
The Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year upheld the Chicago ordinance, which was introduced in 2009. The Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Harrisburg in 2019. That measure was enacted in response to disruptions by protesters outside two abortion clinics in the city.
The cases did not directly implicate abortion rights. In a major ruling on Monday, the struck down a Louisiana law placing restrictions on doctors that perform abortions.
Also on Thursday, the court directed a lower court to reconsider the legality of two Indiana abortion restrictions – one that would require women to undergo an ultrasound procedure at least 18 hours before terminating a pregnancy and another that would expand parental notification when a minor seeks an abortion. The lower court had struck down both measures.
Abortion remains a divisive issue in the United States. The Supreme Court in its landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling legalized abortion nationwide, finding that women have a constitutional right to the procedure. In recent years, numerous Republican-governed states have sought to impose a series of restrictions on abortion.
Federal Judge Reverses Trump Asylum Policy Due To Government Failing To Abide By Administrative Procedure Act
(Law & Crime) — A federal judge appointed by President Donald Trump on Tuesday evening overturned the Trump Administration’s second and most restrictive asylum policy, all because the government failed to abide by the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), the judge reasoned.
In a 52-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly of Washington, D.C. held that in enacting the rule, which required immigrants to seek asylum in any country they passed through before they could claim asylum in the U.S., the Trump administration “unlawfully dispensed” with mandatory procedural requirements allowing the public to weigh in on proposed rule changes.
Kelly, who was appointed to the court in 2017, rejected the Trump administration’s assertion that the asylum rule fell within exceptions to the APA permitting the government to disregard the notice-and-comment requirement if there’s “good cause” such commentary is unnecessary or if the rule involves a military or foreign affairs function.
“[The court] also holds that Defendants unlawfully promulgated the rule without complying with the APA’s notice-and-comment requirements, because neither the ‘good cause’ nor the ‘foreign affairs function’ exceptions are satisfied on the record here,” Kelly wrote. “Despite their potentially broad sweep, the D.C. Circuit has instructed that these exceptions must be ‘narrowly construed’ and ‘reluctantly countenanced.’ The Circuit has also emphasized that the broader a rule’s reach, ‘the greater the necessity for public comment.’ With these baseline principles in mind, the Court considers whether either the good cause or foreign affairs function exception applies here. Neither does.”
According to Kelly, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) generally allows any person physically in the U.S. seeking refuge to apply for asylum — with some exceptions for immigrants who have committed certain crimes or who had previously been “firmly resettled” prior to arriving in the U.S.
“The Court reiterates that there are many circumstances in which courts appropriately defer to the national security judgments of the Executive. But determining the scope of an APA exception is not one of them,” Kelly wrote. “As noted above, if engaging in notice-and-comment rulemaking before implementing the rule would have harmed ongoing international negotiations, Defendants could have argued that these effects gave them good cause to forgo these procedures. And they could have provided an adequate factual record to support those predictive judgments to which the Court could defer. But they did not do so.”
Claudia Cubas, the Litigation Director at CAIR Coalition, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, praised the decision as removing an “unjust barrier to protection” for those in need.
“By striking down this rule, Judge Kelly reaffirmed two fundamental principles. The protection of asylum seekers fleeing for safety is intertwined with our national values and that the United States is a country where the rule of law cannot be tossed aside for political whims,” Cubas said.