Patterico's Pontifications


Did Giuliani Directly Contradict Trump Last Night?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:38 am

The New York Times, in an article co-written by Clinton favorite Maggie Haberman, unequivocally says yes:

President Trump reimbursed Michael D. Cohen, his longtime personal lawyer, for a $130,000 payment that Mr. Cohen has said he made to keep a pornographic film actress from going public before the 2016 election with her story about an affair with Mr. Trump, according to Rudolph W. Giuliani, one of the president’s lawyers.

That statement, which Mr. Giuliani made Wednesday night on Fox News, contradicted the president, who has said he had no knowledge about any payment to the actress, Stephanie Clifford, to keep quiet before the election.

Asked specifically last month by reporters aboard Air Force One whether he knew about the payment, Mr. Trump said, “No,” and referred questions to Mr. Cohen. He was then asked, “Do you know where he got the money to make that payment?”

“No,” Mr. Trump responded. “I don’t know.”

In an interview with The New York Times shortly after his Fox News appearance, Mr. Giuliani, the former New York mayor and longtime Trump confidant who recently joined the president’s legal team, said that he had documentation showing that Mr. Trump had personally made the payment. Mr. Giuliani indicated that the goal was to conclusively demonstrate that there was no campaign finance violation involved.

“Some time after the campaign is over, they set up a reimbursement, $35,000 a month, out of his personal family account,” Mr. Giuliani said. He added that over all, Mr. Cohen was paid $460,000 or $470,000 from Mr. Trump through those payments, which also included money for “incidental expenses” that he had incurred on Mr. Trump’s behalf.

I’m . . . not quite sure that bolded language is accurate.

Is it a clear contradiction? Or is it just, as I called it last night, “Clintonian”? Trump saying he “didn’t know about the payment” (which, in context, means knowing about it at the time it was made) is not necessarily contradicted by a statement that he reimbursed it.

And Giuliani didn’t say that he had documentation showing Mr. Trump had personally made “the payment” but that Trump had reimbursed the payment.

Which all makes Trump’s April comments Clintonian at best. But not necessarily a lie.

It’s not my job to defend these guys. Let them explain what happened. I’ll make popcorn. I’ll go so far as to say I think they are lying about this. It appears to me that they probably are. In particular, about whether Trump knew.

I’m just not sure it has quite been proven. Yet.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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