WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump acknowledged reimbursing his former personal attorney Michael Cohen more than $100,000 for costs related to the 2016 election, according to the president’s financial disclosure form made public on Wednesday.
The 92-page filing, submitted Tuesday to the Office of Government Ethics, does not specify the nature of the expenses incurred by Cohen. But earlier this month Trump’s new personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, revealed that the president had reimbursed Cohen for the $130,000 used to pay off porn star Stormy Daniels just days before the 2016 election. Cohen has said that he paid Daniels to remain quiet about an alleged affair with Trump, and that he arranged the deal without notifying Trump.
Trump had previously denied any knowledge of the payment to Daniels. But after Giuliani made the disclosure to reporters about the reimbursement, Trump tweeted that he had paid Cohen via a monthly retainer, to put an end to what he called “false and extortionist accusations.” Trump denies that he had a dalliance with Daniels.
In a footnote on the financial disclosure form, Trump says that the payment was disclosed in this year’s filing “in the interest of transparency.”
The footnote continues: “In 2016 expenses were incurred by one of Donald J. Trump’s attorneys, Michael Cohen. Mr. Cohen sought reimbursement of those expenses and Mr. Trump fully reimbursed Mr. Cohen in 2017. The category of value would be $100,001 — $250,000 and the interest rate would be zero.”
On the form, Trump argued the payment was “not required to be disclosed.” But the Office of Government Ethics had a different take, attaching a letter to the report stating that the office “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.”
The attached letter was directed to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. In it, David Apol, the acting director of the Office of Government Ethics, told the Justice Department that Trump should have reported the payment to Cohen in last year’s financial disclosure form.
Apol said he was notifying Rosenstein “in connection” with a complaint that his office and the Department of Justice had received in March from the government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). The group had asked both agencies to investigate whether Cohen’s payment should have been disclosed last year, and if so, “whether the failure to report it was knowing and willful.”
The financial disclosure form also offered a peek into part of the income Trump generated last year from his vast real estate holdings.
The president earned $40.4 million from his namesake hotel in Washington D.C. in 2017. Mar-a-Lago, his estate in Palm Beach, Florida — which also serves as resort — generated $25.1 million last year, according to the report.
Trump also recieved $65,000 in pension payments from the Screen Actors Guild from his time as a reality TV host on NBC’s “The Apprentice” and various guest appearances in movies.
The president’s financial liablities include at least $250 million owed to Deutsche Bank and $100 million to Ladder Capital, a commercial mortgage lender.
First Lady Melania Trump, a former model, reported earning between $100,000 and $1 million in royalties from Getty Images for photos used of her.