But just 24 hours later, he told reporters gathered outside the White House that Mr. Giuliani did not in fact know the particulars of the case, even after Mr. Giuliani told The New York Times Wednesday night that he had spoken with the president before and after his interview on Fox News, and that Mr. Trump and other lawyers on the team were aware of what he would say.
“Virtually everything said has been said incorrectly, and it’s been said wrong, or it’s been covered wrong by the press,” Mr. Trump said on Friday. “He’ll get his facts straight.”
Seeming to chastise Mr. Giuliani, Mr. Trump added: “You know what? Learn before you speak. It’s a lot easier.”
Some of Mr. Trump’s legal and political advisers believe Mr. Giuliani’s comments could put the president in legal jeopardy, since federal officials are required to report liabilities of more than $10,000 during the preceding year. Mr. Trump’s last disclosure, which he signed last June, does not mention any debt to Mr. Cohen.
On Sunday, Mr. Giuliani tried to clarify what Mr. Trump called a “retainer.”
“The retainer agreement was to repay expenses, which turns out to have included this one,” Mr. Giuliani said on ABC.
Mr. Giuliani also referred to the sum Ms. Clifford received as a “nuisance” payment.
“I never thought $130,000 was a real payment,” Mr. Giuliani said. “People don’t go away for $130,000.”
On the same show Sunday morning, Ms. Clifford’s lawyer, Michael Avenatti, called Mr. Giuliani’s interview an “absolute, unmitigated disaster” and “one of the worst TV appearances by any attorney on behalf of a client in modern times.”
“He now expects the American people to believe that he doesn’t really know the facts,” Mr. Avenatti added. “I think it is obvious to the American people that this is a cover-up, that they are making it up as they go along.”