New Yorker reporter Ronan Farrow says that the person who leaked Trump lawyer Michael Cohen's financial records talked to him and explained why they did it — because they believe they discovered a cover-up.
Here's what he said
The law enforcement official says "records of bigger, potentially more sensitive, swaths of suspicious transactions appeared to be missing from a government database," Farrow explained.
According to the report, the official noticed that two “suspicious-activity reports" were missing from the record. Believing that the records were being "withheld" from law enforcement, he leaked them to the media.
The reports are required to be filed in a database by banks to flag activities that appear suspicious. The database is called FINCEN and can be accessed by law enforcement and other government personnel. They are not necessarily criminal activity but could be used as evidence.
“This is a permanent record. They should be there,” said the official. “And there is nothing there.”
These were the reports that Stormy Daniels lawyer Michael Avenatti released.
After significant investigation, we have discovered that Mr. Trump’s atty Mr. Cohen received approximately $500,000… https://t.co/oqrWs0KvoL— Michael Avenatti (@Michael Avenatti) 1525813503.0
Avenatti has called for the other SARs, or suspicious-activity reports, from Cohen's bank accounts to be released.
What are the criminal consequences for leaking this information?
Leaking a "suspicious activity report" is a federal offense, punishable by imprisonment for up to five years and a fine of up to $250,000.
The leaker says he knows the consequences of his actions, but that they could not ignore the potential corruption of the FINCEN system.
“We’ve accepted this as normal, and this is not normal,” the official said. “Things that stand out as abnormal, like documents being removed from a system, are of grave concern to me.”
“To say that I am terrified right now would be an understatement," he added. “This is a terrifying time to be an American, to be in this situation, and to watch all of this unfold.”