President Donald Trump on Thursday said attorney Michael Cohen represented him “with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal” weeks after he told reporters that he had no knowledge of a $130,000 payment paid to the adult film star by Cohen.
During a phone interview on “Fox & Friends,” Trump said Cohen did “a percentage of my overall legal work -- a tiny, tiny fraction.”
“Michael would represent me … on some things,” Trump said. “He represents me — like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal, he represented me.”
Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti, called the admission "another gift from the heavens in this case" in an interview on MSNBC.
“It’s a hugely damaging admission by the president because according to what he said on Air Force One a few weeks ago, he didn’t know anything about the agreement, he didn’t know anything about the payment, Michael Cohen went off and did this on a lark and Mr. Trump knew nothing about it,” Avenatti said. “He tripped himself up.”
Cohen negotiated a $130,000 payment to Daniels in October 2016 in exchange for her signing a nondisclosure agreement barring her from talking about an alleged sexual encounter she had with Trump in 2006, The Wall Street Journal reported in January.
Trump told reporters on Air Force One earlier this month that he was unaware of the payment or where the money had come from.
Avenatti told CNN Thursday that Trump's most recent comments would only bolster his efforts to force Trump and Cohen to testify under oath about their knowledge of the payment to Daniels.
“It’s going to add considerable momentum to our efforts to depose the president and put him under oath, because now we have two contrary statements in less than a month,” Avenatti said.
Daniels, who was born Stephanie Clifford, is suing to break the nondisclosure agreement, claiming the document is invalid because it was never signed by Trump.
Cohen filed notice Wednesday that he would not answer questions in the Daniels case, exercising his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.