President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani tried to make the case that Michael Cohen’s secret recordings, including one of a discussion about paying off a Playboy Playmate, will eventually benefit the president.
“We’ve assured him in a very strange way that this is a good development for us because we do have all these tapes and these tapes completely demonstrate the president did nothing wrong,” Giuliani argued on “Fox News Sunday.”
Over on “Face the Nation” Giuliani told host Margaret Brennan, “These are tapes I want you to hear.”
Last week, CNN aired one of these recordings, which featured a conversation between Trump and Cohen, the president’s longtime lawyer and fixer, discussing paying to keep Playboy model Karen McDougal’s tell-all about an alleged affair with Trump out of the National Enquirer, which had paid her for the story.
Trump is heard discussing the payment, but it’s unclear if he advised Cohen to pay or not pay with “cash.”
Giuliani pointed out that Trump planned to make the payment through a corporation.
“We were hardly going to be making an illegal contribution,” he said.
He also said the payment to AMI, the National Enquirer’s parent company, was never made.
“I guess AMI wanted to keep it, they probably saw value in keeping it,” Giuliani said about the rights to McDougal’s story.
“I know a lot of people raise questions about it, but it’s pretty clear from the tape this is a straight out now legal and business transaction,” Giuliani said.
On “Face the Nation” the Trump lawyer also laid out what he knew was on the Cohen tapes, explaining that there were 183 “unique conversations,” which only included one featuring the president – the three-minute discussion of the AMI-McDougal payment.
Giuliani said there were about 12 others in which Trump was discussed, which were mostly conversations between Cohen and journalists.
In at least one, Giuliani claims, Cohen said he made the hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels as a personal favor to Trump.
“Not for the campaign, he didn’t like the campaign, he says very derogatory things about the campaign. He said, ‘I only made it because I personally love the president,’” Giuliani said. “Which takes it right out of the campaign contribution arsenal.”
On “Fox News Sunday” Giuliani said the president is “disappointed” in Cohen, but added that his “anger is over.”
However, Trump earlier Sunday had tweeted about Cohen, pointing to a complimentary comment
his former lawyer had made about Donald Trump Jr.
“So proud of @DonaldJTrumpJr for being open, honest and transparent to the American people. This nonsense needs to stop!” Cohen tweeted on July 11, 2017, the same day Donald Junior publicly released emails he had written a meeting in the Trump Tower with a Kremlin-connected lawyer.
“Do you think the Fake News Media will ever report on this tweet from Michael?” Trump wrote.
The president brought up Cohen’s previous comments about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting because Cohen last week said then-candidate Trump knew in advance about the sitdown with the lawyer who claimed she had dirt on Hillary Clinton.
Cohen also said he’s willing to tell special counsel Robert Mueller about it.
“Every other participant in both those meetings say it is not true,” Giuliani said Sunday of the meeting attended by former campaign associates Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner. “There was no such meeting in advance, there was no such interruption. It’s not on tape.”
Giuliani also walked back his previous comments when he called Cohen “an honest, honorable lawyer,”
“I found out that he was surreptitiously recording his clients, which is a disbarable offense,” Giuliani said. “Obviously if I knew that I wouldn’t have said he was a reputable lawyer. And scoundrel.”
Giuliani also raised how Cohen reportedly recorded a two-hour conversation with CNN anchor Chris Cuomo about a $130,000 hush payment he made to former porn star Daniels in weeks before the 2016 election.
Cohen recorded the exchange in January after the Wall Street Journal reported details of the payoff.
“That makes him a total liar,” Giuliani said. “I didn’t know that. And now I’ve listened unfortunately – fortunately for my client’s point of view – to many, many hours of tape and the man is a pathological manipulator liar. I didn’t know that. I didn’t know him well. I knew nothing bad about Michael Cohen until all this started to happen in the last couple of weeks.”
Giuliani did back Cohen’s version of the truth when asked by Brennan if there were other hush money payments made to women in the run-up to the 2016 election.
Daniels lawyer, Michael Avenatti, recently made this claim.
Giuliani said that in the taped conversation between Cohen and CNN’s Cuomo, Cohen “denies it, says there were no other situations like this.”
“I have no evidence to disprove that. And we’ve searched the record,” Giuliani added.
On Sunday, Avenatti tweeted at Giuliani, challenging him on that fact.
“Are you denying that there were other hush payments made to as yet unnamed women in connection with the 2016 campaign? Asking for some friends …” Avenatti wrote. “You better buckle up buttercup because Mr. Trump’s stupidity and disloyalty is about to catch up to him (and you).”