Trump disclosure of lawyer payment raises new legal questions

Ronan Farrow reveals to Rachel Maddow how he was able to obtain Michael Cohen's confidential financial records

Ronan Farrow reveals to Rachel Maddow how he was able to obtain Michael Cohen's confidential financial records

In a 2018 financial disclosure released Wednesday, Trump cited reimbursing Cohen but made no mention of a $130,000 payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels, who says they once had a sexual tryst.

President Donald Trump has admitted that he reimbursed his attorney, Michael Cohen for the $130,000 payment he made to Stormy Daniels.

The financial report said that while Trump was not required to list the payment as a "reportable liability", he did so "in the interest of transparency". The OGE's acting director on Wednesday gave the Justice Department both this year's report and last year's report "because you may find the disclosure relevant to any inquiry you may be pursuing".

"All they get to do is write a report", Mr Giuliani, a former NY mayor who joined Mr Trump's personal legal team in April, was quoted as saying.

The payment made by Cohen was between $100,001 and $250,000 and there was no interest incurred, the report said.

The request to Qatar would be the latest such exchange offered by Cohen to be made public following acknowledgements by US and European companies last week that they paid Cohen, who was Trump's lawyer for about a decade and self-described "fixer" for Trump.

That means the debt was improperly omitted from last year's filing.

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Ethics experts had been watching closely for the document to see if Trump would confirm that he paid Cohen back for the lawyer's outlay - concerned that if the president did not he would be in breach of ethics laws.

Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG said it had paid Cohen almost $1.2 million; USA telecommunications company AT&T Inc said it made payments of $600,000; and South Korea's Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd said it hired him for $150,000.

"If DOJ investigates and determines that president Trump knew of his debt to Cohen when he filed last year's report, there will be reason to suspect that his omission of the debt from last year's report was 'knowing and willful, ' which would be a crime", Walter Shaub, the former head of OGE who is now the senior director of ethics at the Campaign Legal Center said. Giulani's statement appeared to contradict the president's statement in April that he didn't know about the payment to Daniels.

The payment has been central to complaints filed by watchdog groups alleging that Trump, his campaign and Cohen violated campaign finance laws when Daniels was paid shortly before the election and then further broke the law when the payment was not disclosed in previous filings.

Trump, his campaign and Cohen have all denied any wrongdoing.

Trump's income from the Trump International Hotel in Washington, which has come under scrutiny for being a top choice for foreign dignitaries, almost doubled, from about $20 million in the 2016 report to just over $40 million a year ago. His Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, received $25 million, and his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, generated $15 million.

When Trump took office, he refused to fully divest from his global business, another break with presidential tradition.

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