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Trump admits to reimbursing lawyer who paid off porn star

17 May 2018

President Donald Trump should have reported a reimbursement to his attorney Michael Cohen for a payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels in his 2017 public financial disclosure, the director of the government's ethics office said.

The US president's filing states he repaid Michael Cohen, his personal lawyer, for an expense between $100,001 and $250,000.

Cohen made a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, shortly before the November 8, 2016, presidential election in exchange for her staying silent about an alleged affair she had with Trump. Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani has characterized the repayment as taken from funds paid as a retainer for Cohen's legal services that didn't have to be listed as a debt, according to the BuzzFeed story.

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Earlier this week, Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren, Richard Blumenthal and Ron Wyden wrote to the CEOs of AT&T and Novartis suggesting that their companies' payments to Cohen "raise obvious questions about corruption". In April, Trump told reporters he did not know anything about the payment. "If the [Justice] Department is not already investigating the president's failure to disclose the loan a year ago, it should open an investigation immediately". The reimbursement was paid in full in 2017, and Cohen had requested the money for expenses incurred in 2016.

"Novartis believed that Michael Cohen could advise the company as to how the Trump administration might approach certain U.S. healthcare policy matters, including the Affordable Care Act", Novartis said.

Trump's income from the Trump International Hotel in Washington, which has come under scrutiny for being a top choice for foreign dignitaries, almost doubled, from about $20 million in the 2016 report to just over $40 million a year ago.

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The Office of Government Ethics has also concluded that the payment to Cohen "meets the disclosure requirement for a reportable liability". The agency reviewed the form and made it public on Wednesday.

Mr. Rosenstein oversees the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is probing whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian Federation and other matters. For instance, it showed that Trump received more than $25 million in income in 2017 from Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Palm Beach, Florida, and more than $15 million in income from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. The Office of Government Ethics said the president's report is under review.

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Trump admits to reimbursing lawyer who paid off porn star