Trump disclosure of Michael Cohen payment raises new legal questions

Aaron Brown
May 17, 2018

A note in the document says "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".

Besides Trump and Cohen payment, the ethics document has information on Trump's personal businesses. Many are speculating that the third-party payment may have been one that has been much talked about in recent weeks - the $130,000 Cohen has said he paid to adult film actress Stephanie Clifford, whose acting name is Stormy Daniels, prior to the 2016 election in exchange for her silence about an affair she claims to have had with Trump.

The Trump Organization referred questions about the disclosure report to the president's lawyer Sheri Dillon of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.

In the report of the ethics office, payment made by Cohen was $100,001 and $250,000.

"No", Trump said. "I don't know".

The disclosure caps a series of contradictory statements from Trump and his representatives on the scandal swirling around lawyer Michael Cohen - which has widened to ensnare major corporations and a Russian oligarch. Yahoo News reported that while Cohen claimed he stopped pursuing Trump World Tower Moscow in January 2016, text messages and emails obtained by prosecutors and congressional investigators suggest he was still working on the deal in May 2016, when Trump was cinching the Republican presidential nomination.

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Al-Rumaihi was at Trump Tower as part of a Qatari delegation that included Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed al-Thani, the Post said.

The US Office of Government Ethics even disclosed that Trump and Cohen's payments were inconsistent.

The hush-money payment to Daniels is reportedly a focus of a federal investigation into Cohen's private finances and business interests. The "law-enforcement official" said they decided to make that document public because it appeared two similar reports were missing from a government database, and they feared they were being hidden from law enforcement. The first missing report covered almost seven months and listed a little over $1 million in activity.

The disclosure shows millions in 2017 income from rents, licences, book and television royalties, company shares, hotel management fees and golf courses, with interests that span the globe from India to Dubai.

The Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C., which opened during his presidential campaign in 2016, saw $40 million in revenues. His Doral club, as was the case a year ago, dwarfed the rest of his golf properties, with revenues of nearly $75 million. One of his biggest lenders is Ladder Capital, which has lent more than $100 million. The latest is the one that fueled last week's reports; it describes transactions with companies including Novartis and AT&T, which occurred from September 2017 to January 2018 and totaled almost a million dollars. The agency reviewed the form and made it public on Wednesday. Trump can take back control of the trust at any time, and he's allowed to withdraw cash from it as he pleases.

Though it was published three decades ago, his book The Art of The Deal previous year generated as much as $1 million.

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