Wait, He Said What Now?

Rudy Giuliani, the latest addition to the White House legal team, announced on Fox News Wednesday that the president did indeed reimburse his lawyer, Michael Cohen, for the $130,000 hush-money payment Cohen made to adult film star Stephanie Clifford, better known as Stormy Daniels.

UPDATE 05/04/2018 4:00 PM PST: Giuliani released a statement today attempting to walk back the comments he made Wednesday, claiming that, “The payment was made to resolve a personal and false allegation in order to protect the President’s family. It would have been done in any event, whether he was a candidate or not.”

In response, the president said that, “When Rudy made the statements — Rudy is great — but Rudy had just started, and he wasn’t totally familiar with everything.”

The president has consistently denied any knowledge of the payment as recently as last month.

On Wednesday, Giuliani, speaking on Fox with Sean Hannity, said that the president paid Cohen back in installments for the $130,000 hush-money payment the lawyer made to Clifford before the 2016 election.

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The Likeliest of Bedfellows

Judge Kimba Wood has ruled that Michael Cohen cannot access the materials confiscated from him in an FBI raid last week, and she has yet to decide who will ultimately review the materials for privileged information that should be excluded from the case due to attorney-client privilege.

In the same hearing, it was revealed that Sean Hannity, who railed against the FBI raid against Cohen, is in fact the lawyer’s mysterious third client.

It is being reported that the current administration is now more concerned about the investigation into Cohen’s affairs than the Russia investigation headed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

What does all of this mean, and why does a talk-show host like Sean Hannity matter in the slightest?

Let’s start with Judge Wood’s decision, because it’s actually pretty complicated.

Cohen had requested that the court issue a temporary restraining order to prevent prosecutors from examining the materials confiscated during the FBI raid; he made this request so that he could go through the materials himself and remove anything that he felt qualified as ‘privileged information,’ or information that is protected by attorney-client privilege.

What that means, in essence, is that Cohen tried to get back all the information that the FBI took from him so that he could clean it up and give back only the things he feels comfortable giving to the public.

And Woods said no — to an extent.

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