Maggie Haberman of The New York Times claims it's possible Trump didn't know why he was signing a check to Michael Cohen for $35,000. CNN's Alisyn Camerota calls that "absurd."
John Berman and Alisyn Camerota interviewed the NY Times reporter earlier today and touched on a number of topics, but when they switched to the checks Cohen produced during sworn testimony, their discussion went sideways.
I understand that Haberman is an investigative reporter, but context matters and Camerota nailed her when she parrotted the talking points of Trump's legal team to the CNN audience.
Haberman said, "What people close to the president said is they are not sure he actually knew what the payments were going toward. That he thought he was getting a legal fee to repay Michael Cohen. Michael Cohen's lawyer Lanny Davis said that's not a plausible explanation."
And then she complemented Rudy Giuliani for coming out from the start and telling the public that Trump did indeed reimburse Micheal Cohen and that the public might be numb to it all by now.
"One of the things that Rudy Giuliani was smart about was right out of the gate in May of 2018 saying, 'Yes, he reimbursed him.' Voters have been hearing it for a year." Haberman said.
Giuliani made a major gaffe in making those comments. It was not known at the time and opened up new lines of inquiry into Trump's dealings with Cohen, Daniels and possible illegal payments and violations of campaign finance laws.
Camerota jumped in, "That's absurd, Maggie. That is -- "
Haberman, "Which part?
Camerota continued, "The part that Donald Trump would every month sign by hand a check -- "
Haberman interrupted, "No, it's not absurd. I don't agree with that."
Camerota, "For $35,000 and not know. This is a man who didn't even pay his vendors when they completed work for him. This is somebody who doesn't part with $35,000."
Haberman, "I'm just doing this for a theoretical. Let's say he thought he was reimbursing Michael Cohen for other things that he may not want people to know about. I'm talking specifically about the Stormy Daniels thing. So no, I disagree with you that it's absurd."
Rudy Giuliani couldn't have said it any better. It's ridiculous. Most of Trump's excuses regarding Stormy Daniels' payments come in the form of "not knowing." Then we find out he lied and did know.
We know how Trump has operated his business ventures for decades. He's a tightwad and a cheat. He hates paying for anything.
No, it's not remotely possible that he "didn't know" he was paying hush money to the porn star.