Michael Cohen Battles Stormy Daniels' Lawyer Over Published Banking Information

Saul Bowman
May 17, 2018

President Trump formally disclosed Wednesday that he paid his attorney as much as $250,000 as reimbursements for expenses - which included a $130,000 payoff to porn star Stormy Daniels, who says she had a sexual encounter with him. Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said during a Fox News interview that the president had repaid Cohen. "Mr Cohen sought reimbursement of those expenses and Mr Trump fully reimbursed Mr Cohen in 2017".

The $100,000 was paid out in 2016 but was not reported in the president's disclosure past year. Mr. Cohen paid $130,000 to Ms. Daniels, who alleges a brief affair with Mr. Trump in 2006, shortly before the presidential election in 2016.

"In 2016 expenses were incurred by one of Donald J. Trump's attorneys, Michael Cohen", Trump reported in a footnote to his official Personal Financial Disclosure report, required of top federal officials.

In addition, the Office of Government Ethics released a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein saying that it had concluded that Trump was required to disclose this liability owed to Cohen.

Earlier this week, Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren, Richard Blumenthal and Ron Wyden wrote to the CEOs of AT&T and Novartis suggesting that their companies' payments to Cohen "raise obvious questions about corruption". The agency reviewed the form and made it public on Wednesday.

A liberal-leaning watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, filed a complaint in March requesting an investigation into the payment and whether Trump broke the law by failing to disclose it past year. "You'll have to ask Michael", he told reporters on Air Force One last month.

The disclosure also provides a glimpse at the financial state of the president's businesses whose daily operations are now being handled by his family. Mar-a-Lago's revenue appears to be down slightly from a year ago: In the 16 months preceding last year's financial disclosure, Trump's "winter White House" took in $37.3 million; in the 12 months preceding this year's, it took in only $25.1 million.

Trump's disclosure includes all of 2017 and part of 2018.

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