Giuliani Attempts to Clean Up Explosive Statements on Trump’s Stormy Daniels Payment

Earlier, Trump indicated that his new lawyer would soon be getting his “facts straight.”

Anthony Behar/ZUMA

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Rudy Giuliani released a statement on Friday attempting to clarify explosive remarks he made just two days before, in which he said President Donald Trump had reimbursed $130,000 to his personal lawyer Michael Cohen to keep adult film actress Stormy Daniels from publicly speaking about an alleged affair with the president.

The new statement from Giuliani, who recently joined Trump’s legal team to help him contend with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, repeated his original claim that the payment was not a campaign finance violation. It also tried to reframe his comments to Fox & Friends on Thursday, when he said of Daniels’ allegations, “Imagine if that came out on Oct. 15, 2016, in the middle of the, you know, last debate with Hillary Clinton.” Some people interpreted those remarks as accidental confirmation that the payment was politically motivated and therefore in possible violation of campaign finance laws, which limit the amount people can contribute to candidates and require disclosures of those donations.

“My references to timing were not describing my understanding of the President’s knowledge, but instead, my understanding of these matters,” it,” Giuliani, the former New York mayor and presidential candidate, said in the statement.

The statement is the latest development in an increasingly fraught legal situation concerning the president and the hush agreement with Daniels, which has since become a focus of a federal investigation targeting Cohen. It came just hours after Trump signaled to reporters Friday morning that Giuliani, the newest member of his legal team, would soon be getting his “facts straight” on the matter. (Prior to Wednesday, when Giuliani told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that Trump had repaid Cohen for the $130,000 he gave Daniels to silence her, Trump had repeatedly denied having any knowledge of the payment.)

“Rudy is a great guy, but he just started a day ago,” Trump told reporters. He added, “Rudy knows it’s a witch hunt, he started yesterday, he’ll get his facts straight. He’s a great guy.”

The intention of Giuliani’s shocking admission appeared to be to exonerate Trump of a campaign finance violation. Legal experts say it did the opposite, likely exacerbating Trump’s mounting legal woes by suggesting he might have failed to make the proper disclosures or even conspired to cover up the campaign contribution.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend