Giuliani explains why he revealed that Trump paid back Cohen for Stormy's hush money

  • "I wanted to get out in front of the special counsel and the Southern District (of New York) because at some point they would realize this information and leak it," Rudy Giuliani told NBC News on Thursday.
  • On Wednesday, Giuliani told Fox News that Trump personally repaid Michael Cohen for a $130,000 payment to buy an adult film actress's silence about an alleged affair prior to the 2016 presidential vote.

President Donald Trump's newest legal aide told NBC News that he made the explosive announcement about the U.S. president's personal reimbursement to Michael Cohen in order to try to get ahead of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Speaking via telephone with NBC News on Thursday evening, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said he decided to go public with the news because: "I wanted to get out in front of the special counsel and the Southern District (of New York) because at some point they would realize this information and leak it."

Many observers have been puzzled about why Giuliani revealed the reimbursement, since it would appear to draw the president directly into a matter that, up until this point, was alleged to have involved only Cohen acting without Trump's knowledge.

On Wednesday, Giuliani told Fox News that Trump personally repaid Michael Cohen for a $130,000 payment to buy an adult film actress's silence about an alleged affair prior to the 2016 presidential vote.

"I don't think the president realized he paid (Cohen) back for that specific thing until we made him aware of the paperwork," Giuliani said on Thursday.

— NBC News' Kristen Welker contributed to this report.