MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
President Trump for the first time has answered questions about Stormy Daniels, the adult film actress and director who claims to have had an affair with him more than a decade ago. This came in a rare exchange with reporters on Air Force One, where Trump also weighed in on the fate of embattled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. All right, NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith is here to catch us up on this. Hello there.
TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Hello.
KELLY: What exactly did Trump have to say about Stormy Daniels?
KEITH: So he did not weigh in on whether the affair existed or not.
KEITH: That is something that his spokespeople have denied in the past as well as his lawyer Michael Cohen. He was asked about a $130,000 payment that Michael Cohen, his fixer and attorney, made to her, made to Stormy Daniels, on the eve of the election. And Trump said that he didn't know about it. And he didn't know where the money came from. You'd have to ask Cohen, he said. He later ignored a question about whether he had ever set up a fund that Cohen could draw from for things like this. Stormy Daniels' attorney has already responded with a tweet saying that, quote, "we very much look forward to testing the truthfulness of Mr. Trump's feigned lack of knowledge concerning the $130,000 payment."
KELLY: All right.
KEITH: And that payment was part of a nondisclosure agreement where she wouldn't talk about the affair.
KEITH: Or not - the alleged affair.
KELLY: Right. OK. So a little fact to add to the mix here, but still a lot of questions there. Let me move you to the EPA, where Scott Pruitt has been facing a lot of questions for alleged ethical lapses. The bad headlines have seemed to just keep rolling in. What did President Trump have to say about Mr. Pruitt and his fate?
KEITH: Yeah. So earlier today he was asked whether he has confidence in Pruitt. And Trump said, I do. But then his spokesman said that they are - the White House is looking into the reports. And there are just a number of them about a lot of different things, including some - staying in the home of a lobbyist for $50 a night and whether that was really market rate and whether that was really OK. And then the president was asked about this as well. And he said, I'm going to have to look at the reports. I'll make a determination. Quote, "but he's a good man. He's done a terrific job. But I'll have to take a look at it." He also praised Pruitt, said that, you know, I'm just coming back from coal country - he was in West Virginia - and the things that Pruitt is doing as EPA administrator are those - the president is very happy with that. He's rolling back emission standards, rolling back regulations.
KELLY: OK, so he called him a good man, said he's doing a terrific job. That sounds good. Does that mean Scott Pruitt's job is safe for now?
KEITH: Well, let me tell you about some other good men.
KEITH: President Trump uses that term, he's a good man or he's a very good man, often right before firing someone. And we don't know what's going to happen in this case. We truly do not know. But other people who President Trump has called a good man include Rex Tillerson, the former secretary of state, Tom Price - he called him a very good man just minutes before he was fired - and Steve Bannon, the former adviser who was also fired from the White House.
KELLY: All right. That's NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith bringing us up to speed on these remarks on a couple of controversial subjects that the president made today on Air Force One. Thanks so much, Tam.
KEITH: You're welcome.
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