The Slatest

Giuliani Says Daniels Payment Was Made to Keep Her Story From Coming Up During Campaign, Which Would Make it Illegal

Rudy Giuliani at Trump Tower on Jan. 12, 2017 in New York City.
Rudy Giuliani at Trump Tower on Jan. 12, 2017 in New York City.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Appearing on Sean Hannity’s show Wednesday night, Rudy Giuliani said that Donald Trump had reimbursed Michael Cohen for a $130,000 October 2016 payment made to Stormy Daniels, a statement which seemed to contradict claims by both the White House and Trump himself that he didn’t know about the payment to Daniels. (There’s some wiggle room in that Giuliani says the reimbursement was part of a “general arrangement” and that Trump “didn’t know about the specifics of it,” though even some Fox News pundits are skeptical of the idea that Trump would simply throw $130,000 Cohen’s way without ever bothering to find out what it was for.)

Giuliani’s spin on this new admission was that it proves that no violation of campaign finance law took place. It’s not clear why he thinks that would be true, given that it’s against the law to let someone else front money on your behalf for a campaign-related purpose without disclosing it. Still, any potential prosecution of Trump or Cohen would have to prove that the payment was in fact made in order to benefit Trump’s presidential campaign rather than simply, say, to keep Melania Trump from finding out about the alleged affair.

And on that note, Rudy was on TV again Thursday, yakkin’:

His exact words: “Imagine if that came out on October 15, 2016 in the middle of the last debate with Hillary Clinton? … Cohen made it go away.”

I’m not some fancy big-city lawyer, but it seems to me like saying that a payment was made in order to prevent information from surfacing in a presidential debate might count as an admission that it was campaign-related!