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Rudy says Trump did (indirectly) pay Stormy Daniel
In appearances on Fox News, Rudy Giuliani (the newest addition to Trump’s legal team) said the following:
- President Trump reimbursed his lawyer Michael Cohen for the $130K payment Cohen made to Stormy Daniels
- There was no affair between Stormy and Trump
- The payments were made to protect then-candidate Trump’s presidential bid
That’s not what Trump + team have been saying
Since the scandal broke in January 2018, Trump and his team have repeatedly stated that the president had no knowledge of the payment and that the $$$ came directly from Michael Cohen’s own pocket.
Trump tweets the details
President Trump explained via Twitter that he had an arrangement with Cohen that allowed Cohen to handle business issues and be reimbursed for expenses (expenses = the payment to Stormy). Trump also asserted that the money did not come from his campaign and that the affair never happened.
The right views this whole story as further proof that the media is biased against Trump. Articles from the right call out the coverage that labels Trump a liar for claiming he had no knowledge of Cohen’s payment to Daniels. For the right, Trump’s explanation (that Cohen was just handling business issues) is the full story. No one broke the law, they say.
The left sees Giuliani’s statements as a serious legal misstep for the president. Articles from the left argue that, if the payment to Daniels was indeed made to protect Trump’s campaign, then it would qualify as a campaign contribution. Therefore, Trump violated campaign finance laws by not reporting the payment.
Did Rudy just throw an interception?
There’s precedent here that suggests President Trump will not be convicted of violating campaign finance laws. John Edwards, a 2008 presidential candidate, was charged with violating campaign finance laws when it was revealed that his supporters made $1 million in unreported payments to his mistress in exchange for her silence. His attorneys argued that the payments were personal - to protect his wife from learning of the affair - and not related to the campaign. The charges against Edwards were dropped. President Trump could likely argue that the payment to Stormy Daniels was made to protect Melania and not related to the campaign.
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