Trump denies knowledge of Stormy Daniels payment

President TrumpDonald John TrumpShocking summit with Putin caps off Trump’s turbulent Europe trip GOP lambasts Trump over performance in Helsinki Trump stuns the world at Putin summit MORE on Thursday broke his silence on Stormy Daniels, saying he had no knowledge of a $130,000 payment his personal attorney made to the porn star days before the 2016 election.

The president said he did not know where his attorney Michael Cohen got the money to pay Daniels, which was part of an agreement to block her from publicly alleging she had an affair with Trump.  

“No,” Trump told a reporter aboard Air Force One who asked if he knew about the payment.

The president spoke aboard the presidential aircraft while traveling back to Washington from an event in West Virginia.

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Never shy about sharing his opinions, Trump had remained conspicuously silent about Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, during weeks of press coverage.

Asked why his lawyer made the payment to Daniels, Trump responded “you’ll have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael is my attorney. You’ll have to ask Michael.” 

The president said he does not know where Cohen got the money.

“No, I don’t know,” he said.

Cohen has previously said he made the payment personally using money from a home equity line of credit.

The adult film actress said in an interview that aired last month that she was threatened after she tried to go public with her story about sleeping with Trump at a golf outing in 2006.

The alleged incident took place shortly after Trump’s wife, Melania TrumpMelania TrumpWatchdog: First lady spokeswoman may have violated Hatch Act with ‘MAGA’ tweet The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump denies Russian interference at presser with Putin The Hill's Morning Report — Trump, Putin meet under cloud of Mueller’s Russia indictments MORE, gave birth to their son, Barron. 

The White House has said that Trump denies the allegations, but the president has never personally addressed them.

Daniels’s attorney, Michael Avenatti, said Trump’s comments strengthen the actress’s case to compel Trump’s testimony in a lawsuit seeking to negate their legal settlement. 
 
“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,” Avenatti tweeted Thursday. “As history teaches us, it is one thing to deceive the press and quite another to do so under oath. #searchforthetruth #basta.”
 
A California judge last week denied Avenatti’s motion to depose Trump and Cohen, calling the request premature. 
 

Even though the affair allegedly took place more than a decade ago, it has generated new troubles for Trump. 

Government ethics watchdogs have filed campaign finance complaints, alleging that the payout amounted to an in-kind contribution to Trump’s presidential campaign. Democrats on Capitol Hill have also grilled Cohen about the payment. 

Cohen has insisted Trump had nothing to do with the settlement agreement. But he used his Trump Organization email address in negotiations with the actress, according to NBC News

Updated: 6:13 p.m.