Giuliani cast the statement as substantiation that the payment didn’t constitute an illegal campaign contribution, as Democrats and other critics of Trump have contended, asserting that it didn’t come from campaign funds.
The payment, he said, is “going to turn out to be perfectly legal.”
“That money was not campaign money,” he said of Trump’s reimbursement. “Sorry — I’m giving you a fact that you don’t know. It’s not campaign money — no campaign finance violation.”
Giuliani later told The New York Times that after the presidential campaign, Cohen was reimbursed $460,000 or $470,000 in $35,000-a-month installments through a family account for having “settled several problems” for Trump.
Giuliani said he was “not clear” whether Trump was aware of the payments to Daniels when they were made, according to The Times.
“I don’t think he did [know] until now,” The Times quoted him as saying. “That removes the campaign finance violation, and we have all the documentary proof for it.”
But Norm Eisen, chairman of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, a nonprofit group that has filed a complaint with the Justice Department over the payment to Daniels, suggested Wednesday night on Twitter that Trump still may have broken the law “by failing to disclose the loan from Cohen on his federal presidential financial disclosures.”
Whoa, Rudy may just have proven our @CREWcrew complaint that Trump broke the law by failing to disclose the loan from Cohen on his federal presidential financial disclosures. Those are filed under criminal penalty for false statements, 18 USC 1001. https://t.co/1W1BP4RvIT
— Norm Eisen (@NormEisen) May 3, 2018
As recently as last month, Trump denied that he had been aware at the time that Cohen had paid Daniels.
Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One in April, the president said not only that he hadn’t known about the payment but also that he didn’t know where the money had come from.