President Donald Trump said Thursday he did not know about a $130,000 payment his personal attorney made to adult film star Stormy Daniels in his first public remarks on the alleged hush money.
Asked by reporters on Air Force One why Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, made the payment, Trump said: “Michael is my attorney. And you’ll have to ask Michael Cohen.”
He claimed not to know where Cohen got the funds to make the payment shortly before the 2016 presidential election.
Daniels has since broken her silence on the alleged affair she says took place in Lake Tahoe, Nevada in 2006 — shortly after Trump’s wife, Melania, gave birth to their son.
Daniels said she was threatened in 2011 to remain silent about the encounter and received a $130,000 payment from Cohen in the run-up to the 2016 election that was meant to prevent her from telling her story. But she has gone on to seek to have the agreement invalidated because Trump never signed it.
Daniels declined to confirm whether she has evidence of the affair, saying her lawyer has recommended she not comment on the matter. Michael Avenatti, her lawyer, posted a photo on Twitter last month of a disc in what appears to be a safe with the caption: “If ‘a picture is worth a thousand words,’ how many words is this worth?????”
Avenatti appeared to brush aside suggestions he could be bluffing during an interview on the “60 Minutes” television program in which Daniels told her story.
“You should ask some of the other people in my career when they’ve bet on me bluffing,” he told Anderson Cooper. “My client is credible. She’s tellin’ the truth.”
Trump’s comments Thursday could complicate his legal battle against Daniels, something Avenatti appeared to allude to shortly after the president’s comments were made public.
“Good (actually GREAT) things come to those who wait!!! The strength of our case just went up exponentially. You can’t have an agreement when one party claims to know nothing about it. #nodiscipline #thanksforplaying #basta,” he said on Twitter
“We very much look forward to testing the truthfulness of Mr. Trump’s feigned lack of knowledge concerning the $130k payment as stated on Air Force One. As history teaches us, it is one thing to deceive the press and quite another to do so under oath.