Rudy Giuliani walks back statements about porn star hush money, Comey firing

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Rudy Giuliani on Friday walked back statements about a $130,000 hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels as well as President Donald Trump‘s reason for firing former FBI Director James Comey.

The former mayor of New York City, who is now a lawyer for the president, maintained that the payment to Daniels does not constitute a violation of campaign finance laws.

Giuliani said his references to timing do not represent the president’s knowledge, but instead his own understanding of the matter. The former mayor did not elaborate on what he meant by “timing.”

In addition, Giuliani said that Trump’s firing of Comey falls within the president’s Article II powers and that Comey’s dismissal was in the best interest of the nation.

Giuliani had previously said Trump fired Comey because the former FBI director would not say that the president is not a target of the Russia investigation.

The Trump administration has maintained that the president fired Comey over his handling of investigations into Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Giuliani’s statement comes hours after Trump told reporters that Giuliani will “get his facts straight.” Trump suggested that his counsel had misspoken about reimbursements to Michael Cohen, the president’s personal lawyer, for hush money paid to Stormy Daniels.

The president said Giuliani “is a great guy, but he just started a day ago” and he is “learning the subject matter.”

In an interview on Fox News Wednesday night, Giuliani told Sean Hannity that the president had in fact reimbursed Cohen for the $130,000 payment to Daniels. The payment was part of a non-disclosure agreement barring Daniels from talking about an alleged affair with Trump.

Trump had previously denied that he knew about the $130,000 payment to Daniels during comments made to reporters aboard Air Force One in early April.

When asked on Fox News whether Trump knew about the payment, Giuliani said the president “did not know the specifics of it, as far as I know.” But the former mayor said Trump “did know about the general arrangement that Michael would take care of things like this.”

Creating further confusion about what the president knew and when, Giuliani told the Wall Street Journal that Trump “was probably not aware” of the payment at the time it was made in October of 2016.

Giuliani, in an interview with the New York Times, went into greater detail about the payment to Daniels, claiming that Cohen was reimbursed in installments of $35,000 over the course of several months from Trump’s “personal family account.” Overall, Trump paid Cohen $460,000 or $470,000, which includes “incidental expenses.”

Here is Giuliani’s full statement:

This is intended to clarify the views I expressed over the past few days.

These are my views:

First:

There is no campaign violation. The payment was made to resolve a personal and false allegation in order to protect the President’s family. It would have been done in any event, whether he was a candidate or not.

Second:

My references to timing were not describing my understanding of the President’s knowledge, but instead, my understanding of these matters.

Third:

It is undisputed that the President’s dismissal of former Director Comey – an inferior executive officer – was clearly within his Article II power. Recent revelations about former Director Comey further confirm the wisdom of the President’s decision, which was plainly in the best interests of our nation.



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