Sarah Sanders: Trump didn’t know about Stormy Daniels payment “at the time” but learned “later”
Last Updated May 3, 2018 2:51 PM EDT
Thursday marks the first White House press briefing since Rudy Giuliani announced — and President Trump later confirmed on Twitter — that Mr. Trump repaid lawyer Michael Cohen for the $130,000 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels.
On Sean Hannity’s Fox News show Wednesday night, Giuliani said Mr. Trump “reimbursed” Cohen for the payment — a payment Mr. Trump said he was unaware of, on Air Force One weeks ago. Mr. Trump later confirmed the reimbursement on Twitter Thursday morning, emphasizing that, because the money didn’t come from campaign funds, there was no campaign finance violation.
Asked why the president gave a misleading statement, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said, “This was information that the president didn’t know at the time, but eventually learned.”
Sanders said the White House works to give the best information available at the time, but declined to answer follow-up questions as to whether she was in the dark over the reimbursement.
Sanders claimed the first time she became aware the Mr. Trump reimbursed Cohen was during Giuliani’s interview Wednesday night. Asked if Mr. Trump is happy with Giuliani, who only recently joined his personal legal team, Sanders said she had not spoken with the president about that.
On Thursday morning, Sanders declined to comment on the news, citing ongoing litigation — Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is suing Mr. Trump and Cohen, claiming the non-disclosure agreement she signed in 2016 is invalid because Mr. Trump didn’t sign it. Clifford alleges she had a sexual encounter with Mr. Trump in 2006.
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