At 7:46 this morning, Trump did something unprecedented, he went back on his word.
"Mr. Cohen, an attorney, received a monthly retainer, not from the campaign and having nothing to do with the campaign, from which he entered into, through reimbursement, a private contract between two parties, known as a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA. These agreements are.......very common among celebrities and people of wealth. In this case it is in full force and effect and will be used in Arbitration for damages against Ms. Clifford (Daniels). The agreement was used to stop the false and extortionist accusations made by her about an affair,.......despite already having signed a detailed letter admitting that there was no affair. Prior to its violation by Ms. Clifford and her attorney, this was a private agreement. Money from the campaign, or campaign contributions, played no roll in this transaction".
Late Wednesday night Rudy Giuliani, one of the more recent additions to the Trump legal team, affirmed that Trump had in fact reimbursed Michael Cohen $130,000 for a ‘hush money’ settlement with adult film star, Stormy Daniels. According to Giuliani, “The president repaid it. Trump didn’t know the specifics about it… but he did know the general arrangement, that Michael Cohen would take care of things like this”. The purpose behind publicizing the transactions between Trump and Cohen is to conclusively demonstrate there was no violation of campaign finance laws. Giuliani stated that after the campaign was over, Trump and Cohen set up a payment plan which gave Cohen $35,000 monthly out of one of Trump’s personal accounts. In total Cohen was paid $460,000 or $470,000 from the personal account of Trump.
Daniels attorney, Michael Avenatti was not surprised by Giuliani's announcement. In a tweet he stated, “We predicted months ago that it would be proven that the American people had been lied to as the $130k payment and what Mr. Trump knew, when he knew it and what he did in connection with it...Mr. Trump stood on AF1 and blatantly lied. This followed the lies told by others close to him, including Mr. Cohen. This should never be acceptable in our America. We will not rest until justice is served”.
MSNBC broke news that the F.B.I. wiretapped the phone lines of Michael Cohen's phones. The wire taps were in place prior to the April 9th raids of Cohen's hotel, office, and home. The few things known about the wire taps, it that they include phone calls and text messages. It is unknown which federal judges authorized the wiretaps or wether or not Trump can be heard on the tapes.
After talking to our very own Sharmila Achari there are a few things we can say for certain, starting with the statements by Giuliani were unhelpful. Prior to Giuliani's announcement the biggest question revolving around the $130,000 hush money payment was whether or not Trump had knowledge of it being made, we now know for fact that he did. It is illegal for a candidate to know of a payment being made in violation of campaign finance laws and not report it. If Cohen did in fact make this payment as part of a campaign-related loan and Trump failed to report it, then there is a violation, which can lead to criminal liabilities. It is fairly clear that the payment was made in an effort to help the Trump campaign. This presumption is furthered by Giuliani's statement earlier today “Imagine if that came out on Oct. 15, 2016, in the middle of the, you know, last debate with Hillary Clinton”. Although what we know about the hush money, wiretaps, F.B.I. raid, and the impact it will have on Trump is limited, it is fairly certain things are not looking good for the President today.