CNN host Alisyn Camerota and the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman sparred this week over whether President Trump had knowingly cut checks to his ex-lawyer Michael Cohen as reimbursement for a $130,000 hush payment Cohen had made to ex-porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016.
The debate was sparked in reaction to Haberman’s latest Times piece, which reported on 11 occasions in which "Trump or his trust" had cut a check -- including one to Cohen worth $35,000 --- since taking office.
Appearing on CNN’s “New Day” on Wednesday, Haberman suggested that Trump may have “thought he was getting a legal fee to repay Michael Cohen,” and that the checks were not necessarily reimbursement for the $130,000 that Cohen said he had paid Daniels to keep quiet about an alleged affair with Trump.
“That’s absurd, Maggie,” Camerota quickly interjected.
To which Haberman fired back: “It’s not absurd, I don’t agree.”
“$35,000 and not to know?” Camerota asked, referring to the amount of one of the checks that Haberman’s article mentioned. “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 then argued that it may have been possible that Trump might have been “reimbursing Michael Cohen for other things that he may not want people to know about.”
“I don’t think we should all presume that just because we see something that it’s giving us complete visibility in everything,” Haberman said.
She added: “I think that (Trump) was getting a bunch of bills, and he was signing them. And whether he knew that he was reimbursing Michael Cohen for this, only two, and maybe a handful of other people at the Trump organization would know. But the two people are Michael Cohen and Donald Trump.”