House Dems: Trump Lawyers Made False Claims About Cohen Hush Money Payments

Ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) listens on. Members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform met to consider a censure or IRS Commissioner John Koskinen on Wednesday, June 15, 2016 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)
Lauren Victoria Burke/FR132934 AP

House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) wrote in a Friday letter that the committee had obtained documents showing that lawyers for President Trump lied to the Office of Government Ethics about Trump’s reimbursements to Michael Cohen for the hush money payments made to two women.

The allegation came in a letter from Cummings to the White House counsel’s office demanding that the White House turn over documents related to Trump’s failure to report his payments to Cohen. The White House has failed to fulfill the committee’s requests, Cummings said.

According to Cummings, Sheri Dillon, Trump’s personal attorney, and Stefan Passantino, the former deputy White House counsel for compliance and ethics, made false statements about Trump’s reimbursements to Cohen.

“President Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, is now going to prison in part for his role in these hush-money payments,” Cummings wrote in the letter. “During his guilty plea, Mr. Cohen said that he did this ‘in coordination with, and at the direction of’ the President ‘for the principal purpose of influencing the election.’ It now appears that President Trump’s other attorneys—at the White House and in private practice—may have provided false information about these payments to federal officials. This raises significant questions about why some of the President’s closest advisers made these false claims and the extent to which they too were acting at the direction of, or in coordination with, the President.”

Dillon first told OGE that Trump did not owe money in 2016 and 2017, but changed her story after Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani admitted that Trump reimbursed Cohen, according to Cummings’ letter.

Passantino told OGE that Trump’s payments to Cohen were part of a “retainer agreement,” but federal prosecutors later revealed that no such retainer existed, per Cummings’ letter.

Read the full letter from Cummings below:

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