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Donald Trump Lists Debt to Michael Cohen on Disclosure Form
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Summary: President Donald Trump declared a debt to Michael Cohen on his recently submitted financial disclosure form. 

In 2016, porn star Stormy Daniels accepted a payment of $130,000 to not discuss her alleged affair with Donald Trump. While the first half of that statement has been uncontested, the circumstances around the payment have caused a whirlwind of drama for the 45th President of the United States.

  
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Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen, declared earlier this year that it was he and he alone who had arranged the payment for Daniels, and this admission caused Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, to pounce. Avenatti’s argument is that because Trump was not involved in the 2016 arrangement that makes it not valid, and he has been on a media tour in the past few months, criticizing the Trump administration.

Now, legal experts are saying that Trump needs to declare any payments related to Daniels because payments made to the adult film star in 2016 could possibly be violations of campaign finance law.

“If DOJ investigates and determines that president Trump knew of his debt to Cohen when he filed last year’s report, there will be reason to suspect that his omission of the debt from last year’s report was ‘knowing and willful,’ which would be a crime,” Walter Shaub, the former head of OGE who is now the senior director of ethics at the Campaign Legal Center said. “No one from the Trump camp asked OGE last year whether the debt was reportable and that, instead, President Trump’s attorney asked OGE to allow him to be the first filer in history to be excused from the obligation to certify that his report was true.”

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Forbes stated that Trump’s financial disclosure was submitted on Wednesday and that it lists a debt to Cohen, something that was omitted the year before.

“In the interest of transparency, while not required to be disclosed as ‘reportable liabilities’ on Part 8, 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,” the disclosure said.



Federal law requires liabilities that exceed $10,000 to be reported even if those debts were repaid that year.

In early May, Trump’s new defense attorney, Rudy Giuliani, declared on Fox News that Trump had reimbursed Cohen for the Daniels payment, and this statement was a contradiction to Trump’s previous claims that he did not know about the Daniels’ payment until the story broke in January.

According to the Washington Post, Trump’s disclosure was filed with the Office of Government Ethics, who said the president’s debt to Cohen should be listed in the liabilities section. The office notified the Department of Justice, whose job is to enforce any willful omissions from these forms.

Trump’s legal team said that Trump previously did not disclose the Cohen payment because they did not consider it a liability.

The disclosure form said that Trump has about $1.5 billion in assets.

What do you think of Trump’s disclosure form? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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