He knew nothing about it, but he reimbursed it

So that was a big oops – Rudy Giuliani telling Sean Hannity that Trump had reimbursed Michael Cohen for that $130k Cohen paid Stormy Daniels – and that he did it by “funneling” it through a law firm. Lawyers were all but cackling as they explained that “funneling” amounts to “structuring” and the latter is a felony.

President Trump reimbursed Michael D. Cohen, his longtime personal lawyer, for a $130,000 payment that Mr. Cohen has said he made to keep a pornographic film actress from going public before the 2016 election with her story about an affair with Mr. Trump, according to Rudolph W. Giuliani, one of the president’s lawyers.

Those four words before the 2016 election are crucial, because they’re what makes it a campaign contribution and thus subject to laws that appear to have been broken if not smashed and trampled underfoot.

That statement, which Mr. Giuliani made Wednesday night on Fox News, contradicted the president, who has said he had no knowledge about any payment to the actress, Stephanie Clifford, to keep quiet before the election.

Asked specifically last month by reporters aboard Air Force One whether he knew about the payment, Mr. Trump said, “No,” and referred questions to Mr. Cohen. He was then asked, “Do you know where he got the money to make that payment?”

“No,” Mr. Trump responded. “I don’t know.”

Michael Avenatti was doing headstands.

Giuliani says his goal was to establish that Trump himself paid off Stephanie Clifford, so there was no campaign finance violation…but then there is a lot of other stuff, like for instance that bald lie told on camera on Air Force One.

The president has repeatedly denied that he had an affair with Ms. Clifford, who has described having intimate contact with Mr. Trump before he became president.

Mr. Giuliani’s comments are also in direct contrast to what Mr. Cohen has been saying for months — that he used his own money to pay Ms. Clifford, whose stage name is Stormy Daniels. Mr. Cohen is under investigation by the F.B.I., which raided his home and office last month and seized documents that included information about the payment to Ms. Clifford.

The things we’re talking about now thanks to the election of this squalid turd of a man.

The comments on Fox sent a jolt through Washington and New York, including the legal teams working on behalf of the president, Mr. Cohen and Ms. Clifford, who has sued Mr. Cohen in an attempt to be released from the nondisclosure agreement that accompanied the $130,000 payment in October 2016.

Michael Avenatti, Ms. Clifford’s lawyer, said Wednesday night on Twitter that Mr. Giuliani’s comments amounted to an admission that the president had lied to the American people about whether he was aware of the hush payment.

“Mr. Trump stood on AF1 and blatantly lied,” Mr. Avenatti wrote. “This followed the lies told by others close to him, including Mr. Cohen. This should never be acceptable in our America. We will not rest until justice is served.”

No, it should not. Trump’s constant shameless lying is totally unacceptable and always has been.

Mr. Trump’s campaign did not disclose the reimbursement to Mr. Cohen on its commission reports.

The crucial question in determining whether the reimbursement to Mr. Cohen violated campaign finance laws might be whether the payment was specifically intended to help Mr. Trump’s campaign.

Paul S. Ryan, an official at the government watchdog group Common Cause, argued that “all the facts indicate that the payment was to influence the election.”

Mr. Ryan asserted that Mr. Giuliani’s admission could allow prosecutors to make the case that Mr. Trump “knowingly caused his campaign committee to file an incomplete disclosure report with the F.E.C.”

“Until tonight, it would have been tough to prove that because Donald Trump had denied knowing about the payment,” Mr. Ryan said. “But his reimbursement amounts to knowledge.”

So Giuliani solved one legal problem but made another much worse. That’s probably inevitable with a client like Trump.

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