Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Rudy Giuliani bolstered a legal complaint against President Donald Trump this week after he told Sean Hannity that the president had in fact known about and repaid a payment his lawyer had sent to an adult film star. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr/cc)

Adjusting Its Criminal Complaint, Watchdog Groups Says Guiliani's Statements Only Further Incriminate Trump

"It's not often that the president's lawyer goes on television and appears to confirm one of our complaints."

Julia Conley

Thanks to statements made by the newest member of President Donald Trump's legal team, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, this week—including a new clarification issued Friday a government watchdog says the evidence is now stronger that Trump violated campaign finance and ethics laws.

"It's not often that the president's lawyer goes on television and appears to confirm one of our complaints," Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) said in a statement on Thursday.

Following the former mayor's comments, CREW supplemented their complaint to the Justice Department regarding possible criminal and ethics violations related to the Trump campaign's alleged payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels and his failure to disclose the payment on campaign finance forms.

"There is now more than enough evidence for the DOJ to investigate whether President Trump intentionally omitted the Stormy Daniels liability from his personal financial disclosures," Eisen said. "This is a very serious matter, including because there can be criminal penalties for false statements."

Giuliani told Fox News host Sean Hannity in an interview this week that Trump had repaid the $130,000 that his lawyer, Michael Cohen, had "funneled...through a law firm" to Daniels just before the 2016 election.

The statement appeared to contradict Trump's earlier claims that he knew nothing about the payment, which was allegedly made to keep Daniels quiet about a sexual affair she says she and the president had.

On Friday, Trump told reporters that Giuliani would "get his facts straight" regarding the payment, shortly before the attorney released a statement saying it was made "to resolve a personal and false allegation in order to protect the President's family." He also claimed that his statements on Hannity's show were describing his own "understanding of these matters."

Giuliani's attempt at damage control, CREW chairman Norm Eisen said, did nothing to change the group's view that Trump's possible liability for campaign finance violations should be investigated.

"By revealing the repayment scheme, Giuliani implicated Trump in Cohen's apparent misconduct. Even the best-case scenario—that the president in effect made a six-figure contribution to his own campaign—is an apparent violation of law because it was undisclosed," wrote Bookbinder and Eisen in the Washington Post Friday. 

"The president has an obligation to be transparent and truthful about his financial interests, and failing to do so can be not just an ethics violation, but also a serious criminal offense," said Bookbinder. "The DOJ and OGE [Office of Government Ethics] must launch a thorough investigation and take any and all appropriate action."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Africans Should Be 'Applauded, Not Punished,' Say Advocates Amid Omicron Travel Ban

"What is going on right now is inevitable," said African Union Vaccine Delivery Alliance co-chair Dr. Ayoade Alakija. "It's a result of the world's failure to vaccinate in an equitable, urgent, and speedy manner."

Brett Wilkins ·


Biden Drilling Report Blasted as 'Shocking Capitulation to the Needs of Corporate Polluters'

"Greenlighting more fossil fuel extraction, then pretending it's OK by nudging up royalty rates, is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic," said one campaigner.

Jessica Corbett ·


UNESCO Members Adopt First Global AI Ethics Agreement 'To Benefit Humanity'

"We're at a critical juncture in history," said Ethics in Tech founder Vahid Razavi. "We need as humans to come together and decide what is the best course of action to take with these technologies before they surpass us in their abilities."

Brett Wilkins ·


Progressive US Lawmakers Mark Black Friday With Calls to Pass the PRO Act

"The right to organize, fight for better working conditions, and fair pay must always be protected."

Jessica Corbett ·


'We Are Fighting Back': Global Black Friday Strikes and Protests Seek to #MakeAmazonPay

"We are workers and activists divided by geography and our role in the global economy but united in our commitment to Make Amazon Pay fair wages, its taxes, and for its impact on the planet."

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo