White House insists Trump only learned of Cohen payment recently

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White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Thursday sought to explain why President Trump claimed he didn’t know about a hush money payment to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels.

“This was information the president didn’t know at the time, but eventually learned,” Sanders told reporters at her daily press briefing. 

{mosads}The spokeswoman was pressed about why the White House has repeatedly said things that are not accurate. 

“We give the very best information we have at the time,” Sanders replied. 

Sanders faced a barrage of questions about Trump’s admission that he reimbursed his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, for the $130,000 payment to Daniels, who says she had a sexual encounter with Trump more than a decade ago.

Trump told reporters last month he had no knowledge of the payment and did not know the source of the money. 

The president’s new attorney for the Russia investigation, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R), revealed during a Wednesday night interview on Fox News that Trump paid Cohen back.

The admission caught White House staffers off guard; Sanders said she first heard Trump learned of the reimbursement during Giuliani’s interview. 

“The White House press office wouldn’t coordinate with the president’s outside legal team on legal strategy,” Sanders said Thursday when a reporter suggested she was “blindsided” by Giuliani’s comments.

Pressed on why she told reporters in March that Trump had no knowledge of any payments, Sanders again responded that she provided “the best information I had at the time.”

“The underlying allegations the president has denied and continues to deny,” Sanders said.

Trump defended the payment in a series of tweets Thursday morning, claiming it had “nothing to do with the campaign.”

Instead, Trump wrote, Cohen received a monthly retainer to cover the cost of the “hush money” payment.

His explanation came after Giuliani said Trump reimbursed Cohen and that the money was “funneled through a law firm and the president repaid it.”

The $130,000 was paid just days before the 2016 presidential election. 

Cohen is reportedly under investigation for alleged bank fraud and campaign finance law violations. Trump has attempted to distance himself from Cohen amid his lawyer’s legal troubles, claiming last week that Cohen represents him in the “crazy Stormy Daniels deal” and little else.

Updated at 3:14 p.m.

Tags Daniels payment Donald Trump Giuliani interview White House White House Press Secretary

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