Sunday, 24 June, 2018

Donald Trump officially discloses reimbursing lawyer Michael Cohen

Michael Avenatti, Anthony Scaramucci-Led TV Show Being Shopped Could Michael Avenatti and Anthony Scaramucci team up for a TV show?
Kenneth Drake | 18 May, 2018, 15:53

President Donald Trump listed a payment of more than $100,000 to his attorney Michael Cohen as a reimbursement to a third party, a revelation made in a 2017 financial disclosure form with the Office of Government Ethics.

The unnamed whistleblower, who reportedly spent a career in law enforcement, told New Yorker reporter Ronan Farrow he grew anxious when he was unable to find two SARs on attorney Michael Cohen's financial dealings in the database.

Cohen's attempts to sell access were first publicly alleged last week by Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for Stormy Daniels, an adult-film star who was paid $130,000 by Cohen before the election to keep quiet details of an alleged sexual encounter with Trump.

The president's failure to disclose that he repaid Cohen for the pre-election payout to Daniels has now been referred to the Department of Justice.

Cohen has said he made the payment shortly before the 2016 election as hush money for Clifford, who goes by the stage name Stormy Daniels.

President Trump has insisted no campaign money was used to reimburse Mr Cohen.

The investigation began last week after Michael Avenatti, an attorney for adult-film star Stormy Daniels, detailed transactions in which large firms with business interests before the US government transferred hundreds of thousands of dollars to Essential Consultants, a company controlled by Cohen. Sater told Yahoo News he provided the texts to investigators voluntarily and without a subpoena.

Getty – Contributor
Getty – Contributor

Mr Cohen, whose records relating to the settlement were seized in an FBI raid last month, is now reportedly under criminal investigation.

Mr Cohen also stands accused of seeking to cash in on his proximity to the President, after it emerged he received millions of dollars from a Russian oligarch and major corporations seeking access to the administration. The White House did not respond to requests for comment to clarify the reason for Trump's payment to Cohen.

"They're not fully vetted, but there are at least two I think are on solid ground", Avenatti said. He said he had not been reimbursed by Trump's company or Trump's campaign.

The latest ethics disclosure did not describe the goal or the recipient of the original 2016 payment to a "third party" made by Cohen, for which he was reimbursed by Trump.

Knowingly and willfully falsifying or omitting required information on the financial disclosure form can result in up to a year in prison.

Gleason says he consulted Michael Cohen, the embattled private attorney of President Donald Trump, years earlier about Schneiderman accusers. The President reimbursed that over the period of several months.

"That is absolutely equivalent to a criminal referral, particularly because it's the Office of Government Ethics that decides what does or doesn't need to get reported", Noti, who is also former Associate General Counsel for the FEC, said.


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