Trump acknowledges he repaid Cohen for expenses during election
President Donald Trump acknowledged for the first time that he repaid his lawyer Michael Cohen more than $100,000 for expenses Cohen incurred during the 2016 presidential election, according to a financial disclosure form released Wednesday.
The document did not explicitly state what the payments were for. But Trump’s lawyers have previously said that Trump reimbursed Cohen for the $130,000 hush money payment he made to porn star Stormy Daniels.
Daniels has alleged she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006, a claim he denies.
“In 2016, expenses were incurred by one of Donald J. Trump’s attorneys, Michael Cohen,” read a footnote on the form, which was released by the Office of Government Ethics. “Mr. Cohen sought reimbursement of those expenses and Mr. Trump fully reimbursed Mr. Cohen in 2017. The category of value would be $100,001-$250,000 and the interest rate would be zero.”
Trump submitted the document on Tuesday, the deadline for administration employees to file their financial documents. The agency reviewed the form and made it public on Wednesday.
Trump’s representatives said in the document that revealing the payments made to Cohen was not necessary by law, instead saying they were listing them “in the interest of transparency.”
The ethics office seemed to disagree, annotating the document: “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.”
OGE’s acting director, David Apol, sent a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein along with the financial disclosure, notifying the Justice Department of the Cohen payment.
Apol wrote in the letter to Rosenstein that the Office of Government Ethics had determined “the payment made by Mr. Cohen is required to be reported as a liability” and that “you may find the disclosure relevant to any inquiry you may be pursuing regarding the President’s prior report that was signed on June 4, 2017.”