Donald Trump would have had attorney Michael Cohen make payments to women other than Stormy Daniels if “necessary”, the president’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani said on Sunday as the White House sought without success to impose order on an increasingly chaotic and damaging scandal.
In response, Daniels’ lawyer said Giuliani and Trump had “lost track of the truth” and were undermining their own attempted “coverup”.
Daniels, an actor in adult films, claims to have had a sexual relationship with Trump in 2006, a claim Trump has denied. Cohen paid Daniels 0,000 in October 2016, shortly before the presidential election, as part of a non-disclosure agreement. Daniels is suing Trump and Cohen to be released from the agreement and for defamation.
In April, Trump told a reporter on Air Force One he had no knowledge of the payment to Daniels. But this week, on Fox News, Giuliani said the president in fact did know of the deal and had reimbursed Cohen. Trump did not contradict Giuliani in three Thursday morning tweets, but then said on Friday Giuliani had not had time to “get his facts straight”.
On Sunday Giuliani told ABC’s This Week he was “not really involved in the Daniels thing” and added, when confronted with inconsistencies between his statements and Trump’s: “Right now I’m at the point where I’m learning.”
As part of that learning process, Giuliani may have read reports by the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Citing anonymous sources, the Times reported on Friday that Trump knew about the payment “several months” before he spoke on Air Force One. The Journal, meanwhile, said public records showed Cohen “gained access to as much as 4,000 … during the 2016 presidential campaign as he sought to fix problems for his boss”.
Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, told the Guardian in an interview he thought there could well be “multiple” other women with similar issues to his client.
On ABC, Giuliani said he had “no knowledge” of any other payments to women, “but I would think if it was necessary, yes. [Cohen] made payments for the president, or he conducted business for the president, which means he had legal fees, monies laid out and expenditures which I have on my bills to my clients”.
On CNN’s State of the Union, the White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway attempted to explain Trump’s Air Force One remarks by saying she was “relaying what the president has told me” .
“When the president said no on Air Force One,” she said, “he was talking about he didn’t know when the payment occurred. It was a very fast-moving exchange … and so he’s saying he didn’t know about it when the payment occurred, he found out about it after the fact.”
Any payments to women, Conway added in a characteristically combative and confusing interview, “did not cross my desk as campaign manager”.
Cohen’s New York home, office and hotel room were raided by FBI agents last month, on a tip-off from the special counsel Robert Mueller and with documentation about the Daniels payment reportedly among material seized. Giuliani said on Sunday Cohen would cooperate with investigators because he “doesn’t have any incriminating evidence about the president”.
A presidential pardon for Cohen was “not on the table”, Giuliani added. “That isn’t a decision to be made now. There’s no reason to pardon anybody now … It has not been discussed.”
Avenatti also spoke to ABC, calling Giuliani’s interview “an absolute, unmitigated disaster for Rudy Giuliani and the president, a train wreck”.
“I can’t believe that actually just happened,” he said. “I mean, what we witnessed by Rudy Giuliani may be one of the worst TV appearances by an attorney on behalf of a client in modern times.”
He added: “I think it is obvious to the American people that this is a cover-up; that they are making it up as they go along. They don’t know what to say because they have lost track of the truth.”
In his interview with the Guardian, Avenatti paraphrased a famous question from the Watergate hearings when he said he was searching “for the truth about what the president knew, when he knew it, and what he did about it”.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010
EXCLUSIVE: Full Audio Of White House official President Trump says ‘doesn’t exist’
On Thursday afternoon the White House held a “background briefing” where a “senior White House official” provided information on North Korea to reporters.
On Saturday, President Trump claimed the aide “doesn’t exist.”
The Failing @nytimes quotes “a senior White House official,” who doesn’t exist, as saying “even if the meeting were reinstated, holding it on June 12 would be impossible, given the lack of time and the amount of planning needed.” WRONG AGAIN! Use real people, not phony sources.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2018
A few hours later, a journalist posted partial audio of the call
4. I've obtained audio of the WH press briefing. You can hear Raj Shah, Deputy Press Secretary, introduce Pottinger (along with the terms – which are standard) and then Pottinger makes the statement that POTUS says was never made. Lots of reporters in briefing room and on phone. pic.twitter.com/2gEYkRSyTv
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) May 26, 2018
NewsThisSecond has obtained a recording of the background briefing in its entirety and is making it public.
Read President Trump’s Letter to Chairman Kim Jong Un canceling the summit between the two leaders
Text Version –
Kim Jong Un
Chairman of the State Affairs Commission
of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
Dear Mr. Chairman:
We greatly appreciation your time, patience, and effort with respect to our recent negotiations and discussions relative to a summit long sought by both parties, which was scheduled to take place on June 12 in Singapore. We were informed that the meeting was requested by North Korea, but that to us is totally irrelevant. I was very much looking forward to being there with you. Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting. Therefore, please let this letter serve to represent that the Singapore summit, for the good of both parties, but to the detriment of the world, will not take place. You talk about nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.
I felt a wonderful dialogue was building up between you and me, and ultimately, it is only that dialogue that matters. Some day, I look very much forward to meeting you. In the meantime, I want to thank you for the release of the hostages who are now home with their families. That was a beautiful gesture and was very much appreciated.
If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write. The world, and North Korea in particular, has lost a great opportunity for lasting peace and great prosperity and wealth. This missed opportunity is a truly sad moment in history.
Donald J. Trump
President of the United States of America
MELANIA TRUMP UNDERGOES KIDNEY SURGERY AT WALTER REED MEDICAL CENTER
First lady Melania Trump underwent kidney surgery Monday at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center near Washington, DC, according to a statement from her office.
Trump had been experiencing an issue with her kidney that her office described as benign but requiring medical attention.
Trump, who turned 48 last month, entered Walter Reed in nearby Bethesda, Maryland, on Monday morning and is expected to remain hospitalized for several days following the operation, according to the statement from her communications director, Stephanie Grisham.
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