Charisma Caucus

Faith Leaders Request Trump Meeting Amid Stormy Daniels Allegations

Stormy Daniels on "60 Minutes" (YouTube/60 Minutes)

President Trump has broken his silence about the porn actress known as "Stormy Daniels," saying he didn't know about the $130,000 payment his attorney made to her.

Trump made his first public comments while on Air Force One traveling back from West Virginia for an event on the new tax overhaul law.

He said he didn't know why his longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, had made the payment and didn't know where Cohen had gotten the money.

"You'll have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael is my attorney. You'll have to ask Michael," he said.

A spokesperson for Cohen told ABC News that the president's assertions are "an accurate assessment of the facts." They added that "Michael Cohen made the payment to protect business, family and reputation; it had nothing to do with the election."

Trump had avoided questions on Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, until now.

Clifford said in a high-profile interview for 60 Minutes that she had an affair with Trump in 2006.

The White House denies those claims.

Clifford's attorney, Michael Avenatti, responded to Trump's comments on Twitter Thursday evening.

"We very much look forward to testing the truthfulness of Mr. Trump's feigned lack of knowledge concerning the $130K payment ... as history teaches us it is one thing to deceive the press and quite another to do so under oath," he wrote.

He later argued on MSNBC that Trump's statement could create legal problems.

"If the president didn't know anything about the payment, then he obviously didn't know anything about the agreement, in which case you can't have an agreement," he said on The Beat with Ari Melber. "And then there is no such thing as an NDA."

Meanwhile, evangelical leaders are organizing a sit-down with President Trump in June, according to National Public Radio (NPR).

Four anonymous sources told NPR they were "very concerned" about the allegations against the president.

The leaders involved are planning to host a gathering on June 19 at Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.

They plan to host a 90-minute meeting with the president.

Faith leaders fear the "Stormy Daniels" allegations and Trump's "divisive rhetoric" could suppress evangelical turnout in the November 2018 elections, NPR reports.

"It is a concern of ours that 2018 could be very detrimental to some of the other issues that we hold dear," one source said.

It is not clear whether the allegations from Clifford, or a separate alleged affair with Playboy model Karen McDougal, will come up during the open session, but a source said the president will most likely be asked about the women in a private discussion.

"There's things that are like fingernails on the chalkboard to people of faith. That's not who we are; that's not a 'fruit of the Spirit'; that's not leading with humility," they said referencing the book of Galatians.

Reprinted with permission from Copyright The Christian Broadcasting Network, all rights reserved.

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