In a series of early morning Twitter messages, Donald Trump addressed the Stormy Daniels “affair” allegations for the first time, calling Daniels’ claim that she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006 “false and extortionist.” While Trump’s White House press spokespeople have said that he denies the affair, Thursday’s Twitter posts mark the first time a denial, or any comment at all regarding the sexual allegations, has come directly from Trump.
In the series of three Twitter messages, Trump also confirmed for the first time that his personal lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen was reimbursed for the $130,000 payment he made to Daniels—a payment that was part of a “hush agreement” to buy her silence about the affair, though Trump now says that the affair never happened.
Trump’s Thursday statements followed a Fox News interview by his new personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, on Wednesday in which Giuliani stated that Trump reimbursed Cohen for the $130,000 payment to Daniels.
On April 5, Trump made what until last Friday was his only public statement on the Daniels case, flatly denying that he was aware of the $130,000 payoff at all, when asked about it by reporters on Air Force One.
Then last week in a call-in interview with the Fox News program Fox and Friends, Trump again mentioned the case, confirming that Cohen represented him on "this crazy Stormy Daniels deal."
Earlier this week, Daniels and her lawyer Michael Avenatti filed a new lawsuit against Trump, accusing Trump of defamation for his statement on Twitter that a forensic sketch of a man she says threatened her was “a con job.” But Trump’s statements on Thursday dismissing Daniels story of the sexual encounter as lies—and accusing Daniels of extortion—appear likely to be added to that defamation claim.
The “extortion” claim appears particularly suspect, because to date there have been no public allegations that Daniels demanded payment from Trump. In fact, Trump has denied that he was even aware that the payment was made.
Giuliani gave a second interview on Wednesday night, this one to The Washington Post, in which he offered another series of stunning and confusing explanations for the Daniels payoff situation—this time claiming that payoffs of that type are so routine and insignificant that Trump simply forgot about it. Read the transcript of that Washington Post interview at this link.
“It was somewhere between 10 and five days before the election. And he wasn’t told. But even if he was told, he wouldn’t have remembered it, like I wouldn’t have remembered it,” Giuliani said in the Post interview.
But to Cohen, the payment was so significant that it required him to borrow the money against his house, according to Cohen’s own account. And according to recent reports in The Wall Street Journal, Cohen has openly complained to friends that Trump never reimbursed him for the $130,000.
Avenatti had not publicly responded to Trump’s Thursday tweets as of late morning, but following Giuliani’s interview, he said that the new Trump lawyer had proven that Trump lied about the payment.
“Mr. Trump stood on [Air Force One] and blatantly lied. This followed the lies told by others close to him, including Mr. Cohen,” Avenatti wrote in his own Twitter account. “This should never be acceptable in our America. We will not rest until justice is served.”