Trump Releases Financial Form, Discloses Payment to Lawyer

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2018-05-16

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U.S. President Donald Trump disclosed in a financial form filed with the government's ethics watchdog on Tuesday that he'd reimbursed his personal lawyer purportedly for paying hush money to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

In his annual financial disclosure released Wednesday by the Office of Government Ethics, Trump acknowledged that he'd "fully reimbursed" his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, for "expenses" incurred in 2016.

Those expenses were a payment of $130,000 Cohen made to Daniels in the final weeks of the 2016 presidential election to keep her quiet about an alleged sexual tryst she had with Trump 10 years earlier.

Trump had previously denied knowing anything about the payment, but his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, recently revealed that Trump knew about the payment and had reimbursed Cohen through monthly retainer payments.

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."

But acting OGE director David Apol said that based on the information Trump included in his financial disclosure, the payment to Cohen was "required to be reported as a liability."

However, the OGE has determined that the information Trump provided meets "the disclosure requirements for a reportable liability" under the Ethics in Government Act, Apol wrote in a letter to deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein.

Former OGE director Walter Shaub, a Trump critic who left the agency last year, said the government ethics agency's determination suggests that Trump should have reported the payment in his 2017 financial disclosure report.


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