Posted: 11:15 am Friday, May 4th, 2018
By Jamie Dupree
Suggesting that his new legal adviser had not given the correct details on a legal settlement involving porn star Stormy Daniels, President Donald Trump on Friday expressed his public support for former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, but said Giuliani was still learning all the details about investigations related to Russia and more.
“Rudy knows it’s a witch hunt,” the President said of the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 elections. “He’ll get his facts straight.”
Mr. Trump did not specifically say what facts Giuliani had erred on during an interview Wednesday night with Sean Hannity on Fox News, but his remarks seemed clearly aimed at the revelation that the President had repaid his personal lawyer for a $130,000 settlement with Daniels, after denying that he even knew about the financial arrangement.
President Trump: "Rudy knows it’s a witch hunt. He started yesterday. He'll get his facts straight. He's a great guy." pic.twitter.com/zkWrwZsRqD
— CSPAN (@cspan) May 4, 2018
In a statement issued a few hours later, Giuliani said the President did nothing wrong in the Daniels settlement.
“My references to timing were not describing my understanding of the President’s knowledge, but instead my understanding of these matters,” Giuliani said.
As for the President, he seemed especially eager to get out his side of the story on Friday; Mr. Trump not only addressed reporters as he left the White House for a trip to Texas, but then again spoke to journalists on the tarmac at Andrews Air Force Base, as he prepared to board Air Force One.
The message there was the same – Giuliani didn’t know all the facts.
“Rudy understands this better than anybody, but when he made certain statements – he just started yesterday – so that’s it,” the President said, though Giuliani has been working with Mr. Trump’s legal team for several weeks.
Pressed on the Stormy Daniels issue as he stood next to Air Force One, the President criticized reporters for “bringing up that kind of crap,” denying that he was changing his story about the $130,000 settlement, which came just before the 2016 election.
Trump on Stormy Daniels: "We're not changing any stories"
Reporter: "You said on Air Force One that you did not know anything about the payments"
Trump: "You take a look at what I said…"
— CNN (@CNN) May 4, 2018
Giuliani on Wednesday night stunned White House officials by stating that the President had paid back his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, for a $130,000 legal settlement with Daniels.
“Funneled it through a law firm, and the President repaid it,” Giuliani said to Fox News host Sean Hannity.
“Oh. I didn’t know he did,” Hannity replied, as Giuliani – just brought on to Mr. Trump’s legal team in recent weeks – told a much different story than had previously been offered by Mr. Trump and his aides.
On the tarmac today, Mr. Trump went back and forth several times with Catherine Lucey of the Associated Press, who back on April 5 had asked the President directly if he knew about the payment by Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer to Stormy Daniels.
The President in that exchange, clearly said ‘no.’
Trump exchange with AP's @catherine_lucey, who initially asked him last month on AF1 about Stormy Daniels:
Trump: "Excuse me, excuse me. You take a look at what I said. You go back and take a look. You’ll see what I said."
Lucey: "You said no when I asked you about the payment."
— Jeff Zeleny (@jeffzeleny) May 4, 2018
Asked if he would sit for an interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the President said several times that he would like to do that – but made clear that his lawyers oppose the idea.
“Nobody wants to speak more than me, in fact, against my lawyers, because most lawyers never speak on anything,” the President said.