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Sarah Sanders says she hasn't heard any "specific concerns" from Trump on Michael Cohen payment claims

Sarah Sanders on Michael Cohen payments
Sarah Sanders on Michael Cohen payments 02:15

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders fielded a range of foreign and domestic policy questions from reporters Wednesday afternoon — but offered little new information. She declined to extensively address questions about alleged payments from major companies to longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen, referring questions to the president's personal legal team. 

"As you know due to the complicated components of this investigation I would refer you to outside counsel to address those concerns," Sanders told reporters.

Sanders said she hadn't heard any "specific concerns" from the president about the Cohen matter. On Tuesday, Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for adult film actress Stormy Daniels, claimed to have evidence of a series of payments made to a bank account in Trump lawyer Michael Cohen's name – including from a company linked to a Russian oligarch and two major corporations, AT&T and Novartis. CBS News has reviewed financial documents that appear to support Avenatti's account of the transactions. Sanders declined to offer any comments of substance on that matter, referring questions to Mr. Trump's personal attorneys. 

Later in the afternoon, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani told CBS News correspondent Paula Reid the Cohen documents include "no allegations against the president" and "no clear allegations of a crime."

Cohen argued that the fact that the special counsel's office passed the Cohen case off to the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan suggests that Mueller does not see any connection to Russian interference in the 2016 election. Otherwise, Rosenstein likely would not have allowed the case to be passed off. "They looked at it and they moved on," he said. Pressed whether Mr. Trump knew Cohen was allegedly approaching companies pledging access, Giuliani said, "It is my impression he was not [aware]."

On Wednesday, Sanders fielded a range of pressing questions on foreign policy as well, as the nation awaits the arrival of three U.S. citizens detained in North Korea, and the day after Mr. Trump announced he would withdraw from the Iran deal. The president on Wednesday said he will announce the location for a meeting with North Korea "within three days," ruling out the denuclearized zone between North and South Korea as a possible site. Sanders did not divulge too many details about how the release of the Americans transpired, but did say families were contacted beginning Wednesday morning. 

"I know there has been a number of different points of outreach from the administration, starting early this morning to contact the families, in terms of other details, I don't that for you right now," Sanders said.

On another topic entirely, the press secretary said it is unlikely an infrastructure bill will happen this year. Only weeks ago, the president held a rally billed as an infrastructure speech. But even in that speech, the president said he didn't think anything would happen before the midterms in November. 

"I don't know that there will be one by the end of this year," she said.

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