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POTUS Trump denies any knowledge of $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels

Trump says he has no idea where 130K came from.

President Donald Trump denied knowing about a $130,000 payment his lawyer, Michael Cohen, made to Stephanie Clifford, aka porn star Stormy Daniels, in the month before the 2016 presidential election.

Trump also stated that he did not know where the 130K came from.

The WSJ reports that when asked on Thursday aboard the flight returning from an event in West Virginia whether he had known about the payment at the time to the former actress known professionally as Stormy Daniels, Mr. Trump responded: “No.”

Asked why attorney, Michael Cohen, made the payment to Daniels, Trump said…

“You’ll have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael is my attorney. You’ll have to ask Michael.”

Via The WSJ

Ms. Clifford has said the payment was intended to keep quiet allegations of a sexual encounter with the president.

He said he didn’t know where the money for the payment had come from. “No, I don’t know,” Mr. Trump said. He ignored a question on whether he ever set up a fund of money that Mr. Cohen could draw from.

The remarks mark the first time Mr. Trump has discussed the payment to Ms. Clifford, who has in recent weeks given interviews about the alleged encounter she had with Mr. Trump more than a decade ago, including a “60 Minutes” interview.

Michael Avenatti, Ms. Clifford’s lawyer, said in a tweet: “We very much look forward to testing the truthfulness of Mr. Trump’s feigned lack of knowledge concerning the $130k payment as stated on Air Force One. As history teaches us, it is one thing to deceive the press and quite another to do so under oath.”

Mr. Cohen has said the Trump campaign and the Trump Organization didn’t reimburse him for the payment, but hasn’t specifically said the president hadn’t done so.

Ms. Clifford last month sued Mr. Cohen for defamation, saying in a court filing that he publicly portrayed her as having lied about an alleged sexual encounter with Mr. Trump. In the lawsuit, Ms. Clifford is seeking to extricate herself from the October 2016 nondisclosure agreement she had reached with Mr. Cohen.

Both the White House and Mr. Cohen have denied a sexual encounter took place.

“The president doesn’t believe any of the claims [Stormy] Daniels made in the [60 Minutes] interview last night were accurate,” White House spokesman Raj Shah said at a briefing with reporters last month. “There’s nothing to corroborate her claim.”

Lawyers for Mr. Trump and a company Mr. Cohen used to pay Ms. Clifford have said in court filings that Ms. Clifford could be liable for more than $20 million in damages for breaching the nondisclosure agreement.

After the Journal story in January, the government watchdog group Common Cause filed complaints with the Federal Election Commission and the Justice Department asking them to investigate the potential violation of campaign-finance laws.

The groups has asked the FEC to determine whether the payment should have been documented in campaign-finance reports and whether Mr. Cohen or another entity made what amounted to an illegal contribution to Mr. Trump’s campaign by paying Ms. Clifford to keep her story under wraps.

But any violation would have to involve coordination with Mr. Trump or his campaign, according to campaign-finance experts. Mr. Trump’s comments Thursday​distanced him from the deal.

At the same time, Mr. Trump’s comments could help Ms. Clifford in her effort to break free of the agreement, according to some legal experts. They say the contract language requires the assent of Mr. Trump, as well as Ms. Clifford and the limited liability company Mr. Cohen used in the deal. Mr. Trump is identified in the agreement under the pseudonym David Dennison. Ms. Clifford has alleged in her lawsuit that the contract is invalid because Mr. Trump didn’t sign it.

Mr. Cohen has sought to compel the lawsuit into arbitration and said the contract is valid. A lawyer for Mr. Trump has joined the effort.

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