Timeline of Trump team's conflicting statements about payment to Stormy Daniels

President Donald Trump, his lawyers and his press secretary, have made contradictory statements about a US$130,000 (S$173,065) payment to Stephanie Clifford.
President Donald Trump, his lawyers and his press secretary, have made contradictory statements about a US$130,000 (S$173,065) payment to Stephanie Clifford.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (NYTIMES) - US President Donald Trump, his lawyers and his press secretary, while maintaining that there was no affair, have made contradictory statements about a US$130,000 (S$173,065) payment to Stephanie Clifford, a pornographic film actress known as Stormy Daniels.

Here's a look at the contradictory statements on the scandal.

Jan 12: Michael D. Cohen, on the alleged affair

"President Trump once again vehemently denies any such occurrence."

In an e-mail sent to The New York Times after The Wall Street Journal reported about the payment, Mr Cohen, the president's longtime personal lawyer, did not address the payment but denied that Ms Clifford and Mr Trump had had an affair.

Jan 17: Michael D. Cohen, on the alleged affair

"It's old news that wasn't true then and not true now."

After In Touch magazine published excerpts from a 2011 interview with Ms Clifford in which she said she had a sexual relationship with Mr Trump, Mr Cohen again denied that such a relationship existed.

"This is not breaking news," he said in an e-mail to The New York Times.

Feb 13:  Michael D. Cohen

"I used my own personal funds to facilitate a payment of US$130,000 to Ms Stephanie Clifford."

In a statement to The New York Times, Mr. Cohen acknowledged for the first time that he had a role in the payment, adding, "Neither the Trump Organisation nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly."


March 7:  Sarah Huckabee Sanders

"There was no knowledge of any payments from the president."

"I've had conversations with the president about this," said Ms Sanders, the White House press secretary. "He has denied all these allegations."

April 5:  President Trump


This was Mr Trump's response when he was asked by a reporter if he knew about the payment to Ms. Clifford. In what were his first public remarks about the matter, Mr Trump denied knowing about the US$130,000 payment.

He added, "You'll have to ask Michael Cohen."

April 26:  President Trump

"He represents me, like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal, he represented me."

In a telephone call to Fox & Friends, Mr. Trump distanced himself from Mr Cohen but acknowledged that Mr Cohen represented him in connection with Ms Clifford.

May 2:  Rudolph W. Giuliani

"The president repaid it."

Mr Giuliani, one of the president's lawyers, told Sean Hannity, the Fox News host, that Mr Trump reimbursed Mr Cohen for the payment.

Mr Giuliani also referred to the payment as a "retainer".

The statement contradicted what Mr. Cohen said about using his own money to pay Ms Clifford. It also contradicted Mr Trump's statement that he was not aware of the payment.

May 2:  Rudolph W. Giuliani

"They set up a reimbursement, US$35,000 a month."

In an interview with The New York Times shortly after his Fox News appearance, Mr Giuliani said that over all, Mr Cohen was paid US$460,000 or US$470,000 out of Mr Trump's "personal family account" after the campaign was over.

He did not use the word "retainer" in relation to these payments, which he said also included money for "incidental expenses" that Mr Cohen had incurred on Mr Trump's behalf.

May 3:  President Trump

"Mr Cohen, an attorney, received a monthly retainer."

In a series of Twitter posts, Mr Trump said the money for Ms Clifford was paid out of a retainer, which appeared to contradict Mr Giuliani's initial description of a monthly reimbursement plan out of his personal family account.

May 3:  President Trump

"Having nothing to do with the campaign."

The president also said that the money was in no way related to the campaign.

"Money from the campaign, or campaign contributions, played no" role in the transaction, Mr Trump tweeted.

May 3:  Rudolph W. Giuliani

"Imagine if that came out on Oct 15, 2016, in the middle of the, you know, last debate with Hillary Clinton."

Mr Giuliani, in an early morning interview with Fox & Friends, seemed to speculate over what would have happened if allegations of the affair resurfaced during the campaign.

He appeared to suggest that timing of the payment was connected to the contentious presidential election, contradicting Mr Trump's Twitter statements, as well as his own.

Mr Giuliani said Mr Cohen was just doing his job by making it "go away."