Rudy Giuliani doubles down: Trump didn't violate campaign finance law in hush payment
Posted May 5, 2018 8:50 p.m. EDT
Updated May 5, 2018 11:08 p.m. EDT
(CNN) — Rudy Giuliani doubled down Saturday night on his argument that President Donald Trump didn't violate campaign finance law when his personal lawyer made a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.
"The President of the United States did not in any way violate the campaign finance law," Giuliani, who recently joined Trump's personal legal team, told Fox News' Jeanine Pirro on "Justice with Judge Jeanine."
"Every campaign finance expert, Republican and Democrat, will tell you that if it was for another purpose other than just campaigns, and even if it was for campaign purposes, if it was to save his family, to save embarrassment, it's not a campaign donation," Giuliani said. "And, second, even if it was a campaign donation, the President reimbursed it fully with a payment of $35,000 a month that paid for that and other expenses. No need to go beyond that. Case over."
Giuliani's comments Saturday come after he was forced to try to clean up his remarks from his debut interview as Trump's personal attorney.
Giuliani said in an Fox News interview on Wednesday that Trump paid back his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, the $130,000 in hush money that Cohen paid Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election for her discretion about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump about a decade earlier.
Giuliani's statement to Fox News' Sean Hannity contradicted Trump, who previously denied knowledge of the payment.
In another interview Thursday, Giuliani speculated about what would have happened if news about the alleged sexual encounter had become public days before the election.
"Imagine if that came out on October 15, 2016, in the middle of the, you know, last debate with Hillary Clinton," Giuliani said on "Fox and Friends."
For his part, Trump on Thursday denied any campaign money was used to reimburse Cohen and said he was paid via retainer.
Giuliani then issued a statement Friday that he said was "intended to clarify the views I expressed over the past few days." But it did little to spell out when precisely Trump knew of the payment or how involved he was in reimbursing Cohen.
"My references to timing were not describing my understanding of the President's knowledge, but instead, my understanding of these matters," Giuliani wrote. He asserted the payment would have been made "whether he was a candidate or not."
The next day, Giuliani was on air again attempting to clarify his remarks. He said Saturday that he was new to Trump's legal team, "So I'm not an expert on the facts yet. I'm getting there. But I am an expert on the law, and particularly campaign finance law. I've lived under it running for president. And the fact is there's no way this was a campaign finance violation of any kind, nor was it a loan. It was an expenditure. This expenditure would have been made whether he was running for President or he wasn't running for President."
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, alleges that she had a consensual sexual encounter with Trump in 2006. The White House has said that Trump denies the allegation.