(CNN) — Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is now serving as President Donald Trump’s attorney, said today’s disclosure of the President’s new financial statement explains why he purposely went public with the revelation that Trump paid back his personal attorney for a payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.
Giuliani revealed earlier this month Trump repaid Cohen for the $130,000 he spent as a part of a non-disclosure agreement in October 2016. The agreement was meant to keep Daniels from speaking about the brief affair she allegedly had with Trump in the mid-2000s.
While many pundits called Giuliani’s disclosure a gaffe, Giuliani said at the time that he was working in sync with Trump. “You won’t see daylight between me and the President,” Giuliani said. “The strategy is to get everything wrapped up and done with this so that it doesn’t take on a life of its own.”
On Wednesday, he told CNN that the financial disclosure form Trump’s required to send to the Office of Government Ethics was the reason he went public with the news.
“And that’s why the President affirmed it, yes,” Giuliani said when asked if the financial disclosure process was the reason he revealed Trump paid Cohen back.
“It took a couple of weeks to figure out exactly what we had to do about it and there was a bit of debate about it — not about disclosing but about how to disclose,” Giuliani said.
Giuliani initially made the revelation about the payment in a Fox News interview.
“They funneled through a law firm, and the President repaid it,” Giuliani said. “That was money that was paid by his lawyer. The President reimbursed that over the period of several months.
Giuliani subsequently told The New York Times the reimbursement was made in monthly installments of $35,000 to Cohen that began some time after the campaign. He also said Trump paid Cohen far more than $130,000 — Cohen received around $460,000 or $470,000, Giuliani said, which included “incidental expenses” that Cohen had incurred on Trump’s behalf.
Trump submitted his financial disclosure form Wednesday, which showed he made a payment to Cohen between $100,001 and $250,000 in 2017. That money is believed to be the reimbursement for the payment to Daniels.
Giuliani said he knew news of the payment would come out, even if he didn’t know “exactly when or what would come out.”
He added that he doesn’t agree with the ethics office’s contention that the payments had to be disclosed.
“Frankly I love the idea that the Office of Government Ethics says that everything is fully disclosed and therefore its ethical,” Giuliani told CNN. “I don’t fully agree with them that it had to be disclosed. We disclosed it as an abundance of caution. I think if it’s an expenditure rather than a liability you don’t have to disclose expenditures, but that’s lawyers quibbling.”
Giuliani said there was no debate about whether to reimburse Cohen.
“That was what I was happiest about because it got it (us) out of any serious campaign finance violation, probably out of the campaign finance law completely,” he said. “The President can donate anything he wants to his campaign. He had donated something close to $100 million, what’s another $100,000?”
— Dana Bash
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