Rudy Giuliani joined Donald Trump’s legal team with a mandate to quickly and aggressively stamp out the various investigations dogging his presidency.
Instead, he’s causing new migraines for the White House.
Giuliani appeared to stun Fox News host Sean Hannity on Wednesday night by revealing that Trump reimbursed his personal lawyer Michael Cohen for a $130,000 payment Cohen had made to the porn actress Stormy Daniels for her silence about an alleged affair.
The statement — along with Giuliani’s comment that Trump “did know about the general arrangement” — appeared to contradict the president’s denial of any knowledge of the deal.
While the revelation seemed designed to tamp down questions about whether the pre-election payment could constitute a campaign finance violation, it raised serious questions about whether Trump publicly lied and if Giuliani complicated ongoing litigation between Daniels and the president.
It also caught some of Trump’s top aides by surprise.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders — who said in early March that “there was no knowledge of any payments from the president” — said at the briefing on Thursday that she first learned that Trump repaid Cohen when the rest of the world did.