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Trump: No knowledge of Stormy Daniels payment

President Trump says he did not know about Michael Cohen's payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.

Posted: Apr 6, 2018 9:14 PM
Updated: Apr 6, 2018 9:16 PM

After months of steady silence on Stormy Daniels, President Donald Trump finally answered a question Thursday about the porn star who alleges she had a sexual encounter with him.

Here's the exchange between Trump and reporters on Air Force One:

Reporter: "Did you know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels?"

Trump: "No."

Reporter: "Why did Michael Cohen make it?"

Trump: "You have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael Cohen is my attorney you'll have to ask him."

Reporter: "Do you know where he got the money to make that payment?"

Trump: "No, I don't know."

It's not a lot. But, when you consider that Trump hadn't said a word about Daniels and the money paid to her in exchange for her silence by Cohen, it's a significant advancement in the story. Trump is now on record as denying knowing about the payment. That's a big deal.

Daniels' lawyer, Michael Avenatti, quickly seized on the comments -- tweeting, "We very much look forward to testing the truthfulness of Mr. Trump's feigned lack of knowledge concerning the $130k payment as stated on Air Force One. As history teaches us, it is one thing to deceive the press and quite another to do so under oath."

And it's hard to imagine that Trump's lawyers were particularly pleased to see him wading into the storm of Stormy. (I'll show myself out.)

So why did he do it?

My experience in covering Trump is that the simplest answer is almost always the right one. And the simplest answer is this: Trump was in a good mood. He was feeling his oats. So he figured he would pop back into the main cabin and chat with reporters for a few minutes. He likely didn't even think about what sort of questions he would be asked.

Consider the context: Trump had just spent more than an hour at an event in West Virginia ostensibly designed to tout the tax cut law. Having watched the whole thing, I can report back that it was a total and complete love-fest for the President. There were a dozen or so people on the dais with him -- ranging from the governor of the state to regular folks -- and each one of them praised him to the moon.

Trump was clearly thrilled, sitting with a big smile on his face as others touted what he had done for them. When he spoke, the crowd laughed at all his jokes and applauded loudly when he was done.

In short, Trump was among friends. (He won West Virginia by 43 points in 2-016 -- one of this largest margins in the country.) And he loved every minute of it.

The event ends. Trump gets back on Air Force One. He's feeling pretty, pretty good about things. And, despite all of his attacks on the media, Trump likes to interact with the media; he likes the back-and-forth. So, he heads back.

Now. Once the Stormy Daniels question gets asked -- and then followed up (and followed up again) -- my guess is that Trump rapidly reconsidered his decision.

But he was trapped. Unlike in the Oval Office or on the White House grounds, feigning that you can't hear the questions being shouted at you by the media isn't really an option in the close quarters of an airplane.

The result: A comment -- albeit brief -- on Stormy Daniels. Which, if I know anything about Trump, turned a very good day for him into a much less enjoyable one.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 78632

Reported Deaths: 3113
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion16437734
Lake7952283
Elkhart505191
Allen4161164
St. Joseph376683
Hamilton3033104
Vanderburgh212215
Hendricks1978109
Johnson1819119
Cass18139
Porter141539
Clark135250
Tippecanoe129312
Madison106266
LaPorte96730
Howard94865
Kosciusko87812
Bartholomew86747
Floyd86150
Marshall80523
Monroe78432
Vigo77913
Delaware77752
Dubois72912
Noble71729
Boone71646
Hancock70239
Warrick61230
Jackson6075
Shelby57328
LaGrange57110
Grant53330
Dearborn52828
Morgan50135
Henry46720
Clinton4624
Wayne41010
White38411
Montgomery36721
Harrison36524
Lawrence35927
Decatur35332
Putnam3318
Daviess29620
Scott28110
Miami2792
Jasper2662
Greene25934
Franklin25116
Gibson2464
DeKalb2444
Jennings23312
Ripley2218
Steuben2173
Carroll2135
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Perry18913
Orange18824
Posey1840
Starke1817
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Wells1802
Fulton1752
Jefferson1752
Knox1711
Sullivan1631
Whitley1626
Tipton15516
Washington1531
Clay1505
Spencer1403
Randolph1345
Huntington1303
Adams1242
Newton12110
Owen1131
Rush1004
Jay970
Pulaski841
Brown762
Fountain762
Pike670
Blackford662
Benton640
Ohio636
Vermillion620
Switzerland590
Parke581
Martin530
Crawford500
Union420
Warren251
Unassigned0207

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 106557

Reported Deaths: 3784
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin19287533
Cuyahoga14120523
Hamilton10001262
Lucas5609324
Montgomery4619101
Summit3749225
Butler310569
Marion295645
Mahoning2665259
Pickaway241142
Stark1947142
Warren191440
Lorain188477
Columbiana170461
Trumbull1598112
Fairfield147334
Delaware139219
Licking139053
Clark123516
Lake116343
Wood111558
Clermont100011
Medina98836
Miami89339
Allen84246
Tuscarawas80614
Portage78264
Greene76512
Mercer67613
Richland63512
Belmont62926
Erie62630
Madison58710
Ashtabula58246
Wayne58160
Geauga56445
Ross5285
Darke44230
Sandusky42117
Hancock4153
Huron4145
Ottawa40827
Athens3662
Lawrence3340
Holmes3326
Auglaize2888
Union2801
Muskingum2651
Scioto2651
Seneca2454
Jefferson2403
Shelby2344
Preble2302
Putnam22117
Knox2199
Washington21222
Coshocton1999
Champaign1922
Morrow1882
Hardin18312
Crawford1815
Clinton1806
Logan1742
Highland1712
Perry1693
Fulton1601
Ashland1593
Wyandot1589
Defiance1574
Brown1532
Williams1393
Fayette1270
Henry1252
Hocking1239
Guernsey1217
Carroll1155
Monroe9618
Gallia852
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Harrison261
Noble190
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