President Donald Trump on Wednesday released his annual financial disclosure, including in it a note that he paid his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, back for an expense listed at between “$100,001–250,000.”
The note appeared to reflect the hush money payment Cohen sent adult film star Stormy Daniels in 2016, and for which, according to Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani, Trump paid Cohen back personally.
Read Trump’s financial disclosure in full here (or see the relevant page below).
Despite Trump’s claim in a footnote attached to the disclosure that the payment was “not required to be disclosed as ‘reportable liabilities’” — in other words, that Trump contests it was not technically a debt he owed Cohen — the Office of Government Ethics said differently.
A note by “Reviewing Officials” at OGE on the disclosure reads: “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.”
In a letter to the Department of Justice, OGE’s Acting Director David Apol noted: “I am providing both [the 2017 and 2018 financial disclosure] reports to you because you may find the disclosure relevant to any inquiry you may be pursuing regarding the President’s prior report that was signed on June 14, 2017.”
Walter Shaub, the former director of OGE now at the watchdog group Campaign Legal Center, said in a tweet that Apol’s letter to the Justice Department was “tantamount to a criminal referral.”
See Trump’s footnote below:
This post has been updated.