US President Donald Trump, on Thursday, disclosed that he paid his personal attorney Michael Cohen USD 250,000 as reimbursement for election-related expenses, apparently including a USD 130,000 hush money payment given to adult film star Stormy Daniels who alleges she had a sexual encounter with the then-presidential candidate. Trump, 71, submitted his financial disclosure form to the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) on Tuesday, the deadline for administration employees to file their financial documents.
The agency reviewed the form and made it public on Wednesday. The document, however, did not explicitly say what the payments were for. Cohen had earlier confirmed that days before the November 2016 presidential election, he had paid USD 130,000 to Daniels for her not to go public about her intimate relationship with Trump. Trump confirmed on May 3 that he had reimbursed Cohen the USD 130,000 he had given to Daniels days before the 2016 election to buy her silence over an alleged affair with the then-presidential candidate.
Daniels has alleged she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006, a claim he denies. Trump previously denied knowing of the USD 130,000 payment to Daniels. “Mr. Cohen sought reimbursement of those expenses and Mr. Trump fully reimbursed Mr. Cohen in 2017. The category of value would be USD 100,001-USD 250,000 and the interest rate would be zero,” it said, noting that the president is doing so in the interest of transparency, even as he is not required by law.
However, the head of the OGE David Apol wrote in a letter that “the payment made by Cohen is required to be reported” in the liabilities section of the statement. In his letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the OGE acting director said: “You may find the disclosure relevant to any inquiry you may be pursuing.” The deputy attorney general is overseeing the Department of Justice investigation into whether Trump aides colluded with alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election. The payment to Cohen is under investigation by federal prosecutors in New York.
The FBI has launched a wide-ranging probe into his business practices. Cohen is under investigation by the FBI, which raided his home and office last month and seized documents that included information about the payment to Daniels. The hush-money payment to Daniels is reportedly a focus of a federal investigation into Cohen’s private finances and business interests. In his financial discloser form, Trump has listed assets of at least USD 1.4 billion and income of more than USD 452 million. Vice President Mike Pence in his discloser form said that he had more than USD 100,000 in student loans for his children and USD 15,000 as credit-debit debt. He has around USD 15,000 in his bank account.