U.S.

White House Doesn’t Deny Trump Campaign Violated Law With Stormy Daniels Payment

The White House on Monday did not deny that Donald Trump or his campaign violated election law with a $130,000 payment Trump attorney Michael Cohen made to porn star Stormy Daniels to cover up an alleged sexual encounter.

Related: Mueller will take down Trump or ‘I’m counting on Stormy to do it,’ Maxine Waters says

When posed a question on the payment during a press briefing the day after Republican election expert Trevor Potter said on 60 Minutes the payout could be an “illegal in-kind contribution,” White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah did not defend the parties outside the White House.

“Well, I can speak for only the White House, and I can say categorically that obviously the White House didn’t engage in any wrongdoing,” Shah said on ABC News. “The campaign or Mr. Cohen…can address anything with respect to their actions.”

Cohen admitted he paid Daniels with his own money days before the 2016 presidential election to keep her silent on her claims that she and Trump had a sexual encounter in 2006.

Potter, who was chairman of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) under President George H.W. Bush, on Sunday called it “a $130,000 in-kind contribution by Cohen to the Trump campaign, which is about $126,500 above what he’s allowed to give.”

“If he does this on behalf of his client, the candidate, that is a coordinated, illegal, in-kind contribution by Cohen for the purpose of influencing the election, of benefiting the candidate by keeping this secret,” Potter said.

A contribution is “anything of value given, loaned or advanced to influence a federal election,” and services and goods are considered in-kind contributions, which are subject to spending limits and must be reported, according to the FEC.

Shah’s statement that the White House did not engage in any wrongdoing can be viewed as meaningless because at the time the alleged payment was made, Barack Obama, not Trump, was president.

The deputy press secretary also commented on the entirety of the 60 Minutes interview with Daniels.

“With respect to that interview, I will say that the president strongly, clearly and has consistently denied these underlying claims, and the only person who's been inconsistent is the one making the claims,” Shah said.

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