Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer, has been at the center of the ongoing saga in which porn star Stormy Daniels claimed Cohen paid her $130,000 in hush money to cover up an affair she had with the president several years ago.
Cohen had maintained that he made the payment to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, out of his own pocket and that the president had not paid him back.
Then, earlier this month, Trump’s new attorney, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that the president had reimbursed Cohen. Giulani’s statement appeared to contradict the president’s statement in April that he didn’t know about the payment to Daniels.
Now, a new document, which was released by the Office of Government Ethics on Wednesday, revealed that Cohen requested a reimbursement from Trump and was fully repaid by the president in 2017.
The disclosure form posted by the OGE did not explain what the reimbursement was for, but it did state that Cohen was paid between $100,001 and $250,000.
Though the document is short on details about the Cohen payment, a footnote on the form stated:
In the interest of transparency, while not required to be disclosed as “reportable liabilities” on Part 8, in 2016 expenses were incurred by one of Donald J. Trump’s attorneys, Michael Cohen. Mr. Cohen sought reimbursement of those expenses and Mr.Trump fully reimbursed Mr.Cohen in 2017. The category of the value would be $100,001 – $250,000 and the interest rate would be zero.
Possible legal trouble?
The OGE told the Justice Department in a letter released Wednesday, CNBC reported, that Cohen’s payment to a third-party should legally have been detailed in the president’s 2016 financial disclosure filing. CNBC continued:
However, the payment was not revealed in that filing. The OGE’s acting director on Wednesday gave the Justice Department both this year’s report and last year’s report “because you may find the disclosure relevant to any inquiry you may be pursuing.”
Former OGE Director Walter Shaub said that the acting director’s letter to the Justice Department is “tantamount to a criminal referral.”
This is tantamount to a criminal referral. OGE has effectively reported the president to DOJ for potentially committing a crime. Dave Apol comes through in the end!! https://t.co/8LhDQZS8pF
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) May 16, 2018