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17 May 2018, 11:08 | Devin Moran
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Democrat lawmaker Elijah Cummings, who serves on the US House of Representatives Oversight Committee, said, "President Trump was required by law to report that he "funneled" money through Michael Cohen to reimburse a secret payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels, but he concealed these payments, and we still do not know why".
The disclosure comes at a time when Trump had previously denied knowing of the $130,000 payment to Daniels.
The Justice Department could now look into whether the payment to Daniels should have been disclosed under campaign finance laws, but there's no indication of an active investigation into that matter.
"In 2016 expenses were incurred by one of Donald J. Trump's attorneys, Michael Cohen", Trumpreported in a footnote to his official Personal Financial Disclosure report, required of top federal officials.
The office's acting director David Apol in a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein explained that the forms were being referred after the nonprofit legal watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) requested in a complaint that the agencies investigate whether the payment should have been reported. He said he had not been reimbursed by Trump's company or Trump's campaign.
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He said the Cohen episode had nothing to do with his departure from the company.
Cohen made the solicitation to al-Rumaihi at a meeting in Trump Tower in NY on December 12, 2016, the Post reported.
The ethics office is a government watchdog that provides oversight of the executive branch program created to prevent and resolve conflicts of interest. The report said the president did not have to disclose the payment but was doing so "in the interest of transparency".
Citing the federal criminal investigation, Cohen this week told a NY court that he would refuse to testify, citing his right against self-incrimination - under the US Constitution's Fifth Amendment - in a lawsuit filed by Daniels seeking to have the non-disclosure agreement cancelled.
The letter constitutes a referral by the ethics office of a possible false financial filing. Giuliani also took issue with whether the reimbursement, which he said had been paid through a 12-installment retainer to Cohen, "even had to be disclosed" at all.
Trump's previous report, covering January 2016 through the first few months of 2017, showed he had at least $1.4 billion in assets and at least $594 million in income.
Jimenez said he was personally interviewed by Mueller's team over Novartis's payments.
The revelation puts to rest the ever-changing story about the payment, and shows both Trump and Cohen lied about it. "I think as the evidence comes out over the coming months, disclosures are going to be made that my client was not alone, that Michael Cohen was not a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week fixer for the sole objective of taking care of Stormy Daniels", he said.
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