NYT: Trump Knew About Payment to Porn Star

The president also reimbursed his lawyer with up to $470K
By Janet Cromley,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2018 12:30 PM CDT
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President Donald Trump heads for Cleveland on May 5, 2018, just ahead of Ohio's primary on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – President Trump was aware that his personal attorney paid $130,000 in hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels, aka Stephanie Clifford, before he denied it on Air Force One, two people with direct knowledge of the arrangement tell the New York Times. Clifford received the money just prior to election day in 2016. The new information comes on the heels of the startling statement by Rudy Giuliani on Fox News that the president knew of the payment and had reimbursed the full amount to his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, possibly through a $35,000 monthly retainer. Cohen, the president’s self-described "fixer," is under investigation by federal prosecutors and the FBI for his financial transactions in the run-up to the election.

Public records show that Cohen gained access to as much as $774,000 through transactions that included increasing his credit line, reports the Wall Street Journal. Cohen has said that he paid Clifford with funds from his home-equity line of credit. The transactions could put Cohen in legal jeopardy if he inflated the stated value of his assets or lied about what the funds would be used for. In addition, he might run afoul of federal election law if the funds were used in a way that could be interpreted as benefitting the president’s election campaign. By law, campaign contributions may not exceed $5,400. Giuliani reports that Cohen was reimbursed $460,000 or $470,000, but what that money was used for beyond the Clifford payment is unclear.

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