Timeline: Trump, Cohen, Stormy Daniels and $130,000

The picture is coming into focus on the $130,000 payment that President Trump’s personal lawyer made to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, allegedly to keep her quiet about an affair with Trump.

Rudy Giuliani’s startling disclosure that Trump repaid Cohen for the expense, while not knowing what it was for, has raised new legal and political questions for the White House.

{mosads}Here’s a look at who has said what about the payment to Daniels since it was first reported:

Jan. 12: Wall Street Journal reports Cohen payment to Daniels

The Wall Street Journal in January published a story detailing that Cohen arranged a $130,000 payment to Daniels just weeks before the 2016 presidential election.

The payment was part of a nondisclosure agreement related to Daniels’s alleged 2006 affair with Trump, the report said.

Cohen did not address the payment at the time, but told the Journal that Trump denies allegations he had an affair with Daniels.

Feb. 13: Cohen says $130,000 payment was lawful

Cohen acknowledged to The New York Times that he made the $130,000 payment to Daniels more than a month after the Journal’s report, but insisted it did not violate campaign finance laws.

“Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly,” Cohen told the newspaper, referring to Daniels by her legal name, Stephanie Clifford.

He said in a statement that he used his own personal funds to facilitate the payment.

March 7: White House isn’t aware Trump knew of payment

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters in March that Trump won his case against Daniels in arbitration, a fact that Daniels’s lawyer later disputed.

Pressed on whether Trump knew about the October 2016 payment to Daniels, Sanders said, “Not that I’m aware of.”

She added that she was unsure if Trump had spoken to Cohen since the story broke, and referred further questions to the president’s legal team.

April 5: Trump denies knowledge of payment

Trump flatly denied to reporters aboard Air Force One that he knew about the payment to Daniels.

“You’ll have to ask Michael Cohen,” he said when asked why the payment was made.

Trump’s comments were the first time he publicly acknowledged the payment to Daniels, nearly three months after the story first surfaced.

April 9: FBI raids Cohen’s office, takes documents related to payment

FBI agents raided Cohen’s New York City office, home and hotel room, acting on a warrant from federal prosecutors in New York’s Southern District.

Agents reportedly seized financial documents, communications between Cohen and his clients and documents related to Cohen’s payment to Daniels and another woman who alleged she had an affair with Trump more than a decade ago.

The search warrant was obtained in part on a referral from special counsel Robert Mueller’s office. Mueller is investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and any potential collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

The fact that the warrant came from a Mueller tip appeared to infuriate Trump, who called the raid “an attack on our country.”

The Washington Post reported that Cohen is under investigation for bank fraud and campaign finance law violations.

April 26: Trump acknowledges Cohen represented him in “crazy Stormy Daniels deal”

Trump called into “Fox & Friends” for a wide-ranging interview, during which he attempted to distance himself from Cohen amid the federal investigation into his attorney.

“This has nothing to do with me,” Trump said of his embattled lawyer‘s troubles.

He added that Cohen handled a “tiny, tiny little fraction” of his overall legal work.

“Like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal, he represented me,” Trump said. “And, you know, from what I see, he did absolutely nothing wrong.”

May 2: Giuliani says Trump reimbursed Cohen

Giuliani set off his bombshell during an interview with Fox News’s Sean Hannity when he said Trump reimbursed Cohen for the $130,000 payment.

“It’s not campaign money,” Giuliani said, defending the payment. “They funneled it through a law firm and the president repaid it.”

He said Trump did not know the specifics of the payment, but was generally aware of the arrangement.

The comments contradicted Trump’s past statement that he was unaware of Cohen’s payment to Daniels.

The former New York City mayor told The Hill that he had spoken with Trump ahead of his interview, and that the president was satisfied with his performance.

Daniels’s attorney, Michael Avenatti, tweeted following Giuliani’s comments that Americans should be “outraged” by the indication that Trump lied.

“Mr. Trump stood on AF1 and blatantly lied. This followed the lies told by others close to him, including Mr. Cohen,” Avenatti tweeted. “This should never be acceptable in our America. We will not rest until justice is served.”

May 3: Trump defends the payment

Trump fired off a series of tweets early Thursday morning to explain the payment and dispute that there was any wrongdoing.

The president explained that he paid Cohen a monthly retainer “from which he entered into, through reimbursement, a private contract between two parties, known as a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA.”

“Money from the campaign, or campaign contributions, played no roll (sic) in this transaction,” Trump added.

He wrote that the NDA was used to stop Daniels from making “false and extortionist accusations” about the alleged affair between the two.

The tweets marked Trump’s most extensive comments to date on the payment, though they stood in direct contrast with his denial on April 5.

While Trump’s attorneys have claimed the $130,000 payment doesn’t amount to a campaign-finance law violation, some legal experts have argued otherwise.

Trump did not list the $130,000 expenditure on his campaign finance reports, which could amount to a violation.

In addition, Daniels is suing to be released from her nondisclosure agreement. She and her lawyer have argued the NDA is void because Trump never signed it. Daniels also has filed a defamation lawsuit against Trump after the president called a sketch of a man Daniels claimed threatened her a “con job.”

Tags Daniels payment Donald Trump Robert Mueller Stormy Daniels payment timeline
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