Disclosure of Cohen payment raises new legal questions


Earlier this month, Rudy Giuliani - the former Mayor of NY who recently joined President Trump's legal team - revealed in a TV interview that Trump reimbursed Mr Cohen for a $130,000 payment used to keep Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, quiet about an alleged affair in 2006.

In an interview with NPR, Shaub said Trump's lawyers never asked OGE past year whether the payments to Cohen should be disclosed.

The ethics office seemed to disagree, annotating the document: "OGE has concluded that the information related to the payment made by Mr. Cohen is required to be reported and that the information provided meets the disclosure requirement for a reportable liability".

"Cohen sought reimbursement of those expenses and Trump fully reimbursed Cohen in 2017", according to the document.

Common Cause, a nonpartisan watchdog group in Washington, has filed a complaint with the U.S. Federal Election Commission, claiming Trump broke the law when his campaign excluded details about the $130,000 payment in legally mandated filings.

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

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However, investigators have now obtained emails that reportedly show Cohen continued working on the project until May 2016 - not too long before Trump became the Republican presidential nominee. He also said that the payments were larger than those made to Daniels. The White House did not respond to requests for comment to clarify the reason for Trump's payment to Cohen.

However, the US US Office of Government Ethics did not elaborate on the objective or the recipient of the payment.

The payment made by Cohen was between $100,001 and $250,000 and there was no interest incurred, said the report, following the ethics office practice of reporting dollar amounts of payments and holdings in broad ranges.

The report also came just days after The New York Times reported that the team representing Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election had stopped and searched Vekselberg when he stepped off a private plane at a New York-area airport earlier this year.

As Newsy previously reported, Swiss drugmaker Novartis and AT&T paid Cohen a combined $1.8 million in exchange for insight into how to navigate the new administration after Trump took office. It says Trump "fully reimbursed Mr. Cohen in 2017".

Trump's previous report, covering January 2016 through the first few months of 2017, showed he had at least $1.4 billion in assets and at least $594 million in income.

"My client was not alone as it relates to these payments", Avenatti said. "I think as the evidence comes out over the coming months, disclosures are going to be made that my client was not alone, that Michael Cohen was not a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week fixer for the sole objective of taking care of Stormy Daniels", he said.

Michael Avenatti, an attorney representing Daniels, on Tuesday questioned why Trump was acknowledging the payment - and his reimbursement of Cohen - now.