Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani speaks for an hour – and breaks some big news
As Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his investigative team move closer to their intended target, the president of the United States, Donald Trump's new attorney, Rudy Giuliani, went on the record extensively for the first time on Tuesday. The forum was a one-on-one interview with Sean Hannity that took up the entire hour of the Fox News Channel's #1 prime-time host. Giuliani made a lot of news during the hour with Hannity, but the media seized on the "bombshell" relating to Trump's relationship with the porn actress known as Stormy Daniels.
Earlier on Wednesday, Giuliani had appeared by phone – a shaky cell phone conversation with White House correspondent John Roberts[i] – during Neil Cavuto's 4 P.M. E.T. Fox News program, although the former NYC mayor, federal prosecutor, friend of Trump, and new Trump legal hire left the big news for later, when he was live in studio with Hannity.
Rudy Giuliani and Sean Hannity at the start of Hannity's program, May 2, 2018.
The bombshell news came when Giuliani revealed that Trump had repaid his personal attorney Michael Cohen's $130,000 payment, which the media has called "hush money," to porn actress Stormy Daniels. This admission immediately jumped to the lead story on the competing news channels, wire services, network radio newscasts, and Thursday morning's newspapers coast to coast. For the first time, a representative of the POTUS had finally admitted, as the Washington Post quickly headlined it, that "Trump repaid attorney Cohen for Stormy Daniels settlement." The Post story quickly went to the #1 spot in its list of "most read – world" articles.
Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York mayor and a recent addition to President Trump's legal team, said Wednesday night that Trump made a series of payments reimbursing his attorney, Michael Cohen, for a $130,000 settlement with an adult-film actress – despite Trump's assertion last month that he was unaware of the payment.
"The president repaid it,'' Giuliani told Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity[.] ...
Giuliani said that even though Trump reimbursed Cohen, he does not know when the president learned of the nature of the payment Cohen had made to Daniels. Giuliani said the president didn't learn many of the details about the settlement until the past two weeks, in the wake of an FBI raid on Cohen's office and residence.
The ongoing story involving the "actress" Ms. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has captivated the attention of the anti-Trump MSM for the past two months. After a year during which allegations of collusion and obstruction have not quite found their mark, the MSM have been increasingly hungry for a scandal – any scandal – that might actually stick to Trump. To this point, the president has enjoyed the protection of a political Teflon coating, much like his predecessor in the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan. An indication of the media's preoccupation with the Trump-and-the-porn-star story is the fact that Daniels's attorney, the attention-seeking and Trump-hating Michael Avenatti, has appeared on CNN 59 times in two months to hype it.
Shortly after the Fox News interview concluded, a representative of the channel emailed some quotes from the program.
On the payments of President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to porn star Stormy Daniels:
Rudy Giuliani: "Having something to do with paying some Stormy Daniels woman $130,000- I mean which is going to turn out to be perfectly legal. That money was not campaign money.
Sorry, I'm giving you a fact now that you don't know. It's not campaign money, no campaign finance violation[.]"
On whether the payment was funneled through the law firm:
Giuliani: "Funneled it through a law firm and the president repaid it."
Rudy Giuliani on Hannity, May 2, 2018.
Giuliani made other news during his hour with Hannity.
On the possibility of President Donald Trump sitting down with Special Counsel Robert Mueller:
"I'd like to get one not under oath – I'd want it videotaped, not videotaped but audiotapes. I want to make sure they don't misrepresent his answers. But this is an outrageous miscarriage of justice."
On former FBI Director James Comey:
Giuliani: "James Comey seems to be their core of their investigation, he's telling the truth, the president isn't. I know James Comey and I know the president. Sorry Jim, you're a liar. A disgraceful liar, every FBI agent in America has his head down because of you."
"Comey should be prosecuted for leaking confidential FBI information when he leaked his report intended to develop a special prosecutor for the president of the United States I have never, ever, you know me Sean, you knew me when I was US attorney, a lot of allegations, never leaked a damn thing. I would have considered resigning if I ever did that."
"I have an open mind about Bob. I've known about Comey, I've closed my mind about Comey, I know Comey much better, and I have the indignity of unfortunately of having hired him for his first big job. And I'm embarrassed that I hired him."
As Hannity's show was still airing live on Fox News, CNN put up a banner on the screen that lasted into the wee hours of Thursday that read, all in caps: "BREAKING NEWS – RUDY GIULIANI: PRES. TRUMP REPAID MICHAEL COHEN FOR $130,000 STORMY DANIELS HUSH MONEY PAYMENT." Whatever other subjects the channel might have planned to cover Wednesday evening, CNN instead trotted out its usual predominantly anti-Trump talking heads, who gladly parried questions from prime-time hosts Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon.
Shortly after the Hannity show concluded, Giuliani spoke with Washington Post reporter Robert Costa, who tweeted at 11:33 P.M. E.T.:
Giuliani tells me he just spoke w / POTUS. Tonight by phone. President "very pleased," Giuliani says. He says they discussed his revelation of the reimbursements long in advance. Does not expect to be fired. Insists his remarks on FNC were approved by Trump. Story TK.
In addition to its story, cited above, the Washington Post quickly posted a "lightly edited" transcript of its interview with Giuliani.
Costa followed up his initial tweet with another one at 12 midnight E.T.:
Q: The president's not angry with you? He was aware you'd bring it up? A: "Oh, yeah, yeah.
A: Sure, sure. He was well-aware that at some point when I saw the opportunity, I was going to get this over with."
Q: You spoke about this w/ him in recent days?
A: "Probably 4 or 5 days ago"
For what it's worth, most of the talking heads on CNN Tonight with Don Lemon, which followed Hannity's show Wednesday night, said Giuliani had made a major faux pas in admitting that Trump had reimbursed Cohen the $130,000 payment to Daniels – and that his days as Trump's new attack dog lawyer might be numbered.
It doesn't require a crystal ball to foresee that elements of this story, and how it might affect developments in the Mueller-Trump investigation and the media's obsessive speculation about it, will persist in the MSM's news cycles well into the days ahead.
Lemon ended his program Wednesday night with these comments:
It's been an interesting night – an interesting show. What happens tomorrow – Lord only knows.
[i] In an interview first presented in part this afternoon on FOX News Channel's (FNC) Your World with Neil Cavuto, lead outside attorney for President Donald Trump Rudy Giuliani spoke with Chief White House correspondent John Roberts via phone and discussed whether he believes President Donald Trump should sit down with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, as well as what he believes are acceptable parameters should the interview take place. Below are highlights from the interview.
On whether he believes President Donald Trump should sit down with Special Counsel Robert Mueller:
My position isn't determined yet. I keep an open mind. We had a very good interchange with the special counsel. I did their work for many years, so I respect them and what I'm concerned about because I know how when you're in the middle of an investigation you can lose some objectivity is are they objective about the president's interview? Meaning, do they have an open mind to the fact that he could be telling the truth and Comey may be lying? If they have an open mind to that, then this is something we would consider. If they don't, then given all of the irregularities of this investigation, we would be foolish to have him be interviewed.
On what would be acceptable parameters if President Donald Trump decides to sit down for an interview:
On the topics:
Questions in advance. Relevant topics – meaning Russia, which may not be relevant any longer, but we want them to tell us that. And their theory of obstruction of justice, which has to do with the Comey firing. The rest of it, the tangential stuff, we'd want to see out."