TRUMP ADMITS REIMBURSING COHEN, BUT NOT FOR PORN STAR
NEW YORK— US President Donald Trump revealed in his financial disclosure that he reimbursed personal lawyer Michael Cohen as much as $250,000 for unspecified “expenses,” with no mention of a $130,000 payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about a sexual tryst they had.
The head of the nation’s ethics office on Wednesday questioned why Trump didn’t include this in his previous year’s sworn disclosure and passed along his concerns to federal prosecutors.
“I am providing both reports to you because you may find the disclosure relevant to any inquiry you may be pursuing,” David Apol, acting director of the Office of Government Ethics, wrote to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Apol wrote that he considered Trump’s payment to Cohen to be a repayment on a loan and that it was required to be included in Trump’s June 2017 disclosure.
But another Trump lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said he didn’t think the repayment “had to be disclosed at all because I think it was an expenditure that he reimbursed.”
“The fact is that the president disclosed everything that he could disclose,” Guiliani said.
“He can’t disclose more than he knows. And we’re very comfortable with it,” he added.
But ethics experts said that if the payment was knowingly and willfully left out, Trump could be in violation of federal ethics laws.
“This is a big deal and unprecedented,” said Virginia Carter, former ethics official in the Clinton and Obama administrations.
How Trump dealt with the Daniels hush money in his disclosure has been closely watched, particularly after Giuliani gave interviews earlier this month saying the president had reimbursed Cohen in a series of payments after the campaign was over.
Trump and Giuliani have clashed over what the president knew and when he knew it.
In a footnote in tiny type on Page 45 of his 92-page disclosure, Trump said he reimbursed Cohen for “expenses” ranging from $100,001 to $250,000.—