After a string of media appearances earlier this month that created more problems for the president than they solved, Rudy Giuliani made his return to the Trump-friendly programming of Fox News on Wednesday night.
But instead of clearing up confusion created by his earlier interviews, Giuliani revealed that he’s still confused about the basic facts of the $130,000 hush payment the president’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, made just before the 2016 election to Stormy Daniels, an adult film actress who claims to have had an affair with Trump. We’ve recently learned Cohen was subsequently reimbursed by Trump.
At one point during Giuliani’s interview with Laura Ingraham, the former New York City mayor was asked to respond to critics who have taken note of the White House’s inconsistent statements about the timeline of the hush payment to Daniels. About 36 after Giuliani first revealed that Trump reimbursed Cohen, the president distanced himself from his lawyer, telling reporters “he will get his facts straight” and “virtually everything that’s been said has been said incorrectly.”
“I don’t think I ever changed that,” Giuliani told Ingraham, before revealing that a day shy of his one month anniversary on Trump’s legal team, he still doesn’t have his facts straight.
“The payment to her took place in 2017,” he said, before unsurely correcting himself: “No, the reimbursement was in 2017. The payment, I think, was 2016.”
The timeline is important, because Cohen’s payment to Daniels in fact happened just days before the 2016 election, but wasn’t publicly disclosed by the president until earlier in the day Wednesday — a year and a half later. The Office for Government Ethics referred the matter to the Department of Justice for possible prosecution.
Source tells @FoxNews that Rudy Giuliani revealed the reimbursement to Cohen because he was aware it would be reported in the financial disclosure. Getting out ahead of it meant that Giuliani would take the hit – not @realDonaldTrump
— John Roberts (@johnrobertsFox) May 16, 2018
Whether or not Trump meant for the payment to be a political contribution was something Giuliani was inconsistent about during earlier interviews. The topic didn’t come up during his chat with Ingraham, who mostly gave Giuliani space to issue threats against special counsel Bob Mueller.
GIULIANI closes by urging Mueller to end his probe "today."
"They have the facts on which they can write their report. If it's a fair report, fine. If you write an unfair report, we'll combat it. We are ready to rip it apart & rip them apart if that's what they want." pic.twitter.com/nYR1CES9lR
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 17, 2018
Giuliani’s story about the Daniels payment is that Cohen made it without Trump’s knowledge, but was then reimbursed through a monthly retainer. But even Giuliani’s old law firm doesn’t buy that Cohen would make a payment on behalf of Trump without his knowledge, and said as much in a statement released the same day Giuliani departed the firm.