The big news on cable last night derived from Sean Hannity’s interview of Rudy Giuliani in Giuliani’s new capacity as Trump’s attorney (CNN report here, partial New York Times transcript here). In the course of the interview Giuliani dropped the bombshell that, previous statements by Trump and Trump attorney Michael Cohen to the contrary notwithstanding, Trump has reimbursed Cohen for his $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels (Stephanie Clifford). The payment was made to secure Stormy’s end of the bargain for a nondisclosure agreement. Giuliani stated: “[T]he president reimbursed that [$130,000] over the period of several months.”
Left hanging was the question when the payments for reimbursement occurred. Did Trump reimburse Cohen at the time despite his previous denials, or some time later after the denials?
Andrew McCarthy has written about the Stormy Daniels matter in NR columns here (March 29) and here (April 10). He has stated that the possible campaign-finance violation implicit in Cohen’s payment to Daniels out of Cohen’s own pocket seemed to represent legal peril to Trump greater than the allegations of Russian collusion with his campaign.
I hate pure speculation in the guise of analysis and here I am only guessing. I think it’s fair to wonder, however, if Trump’s reimbursement didn’t represent an attempt to heed the implications of McCarthy’s analysis. In any event, we shall see in short order.
UPDATE: According to President Trump this morning, the reimbursement to Cohen took place through a monthly retainer and “had nothing to do with the campaign.” Trump stated on Twitter that Cohen received a monthly retainer “from which he entered into, through reimbursement, a private contract between two parties, known as a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA.” The president added: “The agreement was used to stop the false and extortionist accusations made by her about an affair.” To be continued, I’m sure.
UPDATE 2: Andrew McCarthy speaks in “Trump’s de mini-mess is becoming a maxi-mess.”