US President Donald Trump today acknowledged that he paid his personal attorney Michael Cohen as much as Dollars 250,000 as reimbursements for election-related expenses, apparently including a USD 130,000 payment given to adult film star Stormy Daniels who alleges she had an affair with the then presidential candidate.
But Cohen has acknowledged paying Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, in a transaction meant to buy her silence about an alleged 2006 sexual encounter between her and Trump.
Trump's claim began to unravel early this month, however, after Rudy Giuliani, a new member of the president's legal team, said Trump had reimbursed Cohen for the sum paid to Daniels - and the president himself subsequently acknowledged the repayment.
The latest ethics disclosure did not describe the objective or the recipient of the original 2016 payment to a "third party" made by Cohen, for which he was reimbursed by Trump. A footnote in tiny type on page 45 of the 92 page document says the president "fully reimbursed" Cohen for "expenses" ranging from $100,001 to $250,000.
The revelation comes in Trump's personal financial disclosure report, which he filed Tuesday with the Office of Government Ethics, and which the OGE officially certified and released to the public Wednesday afternoon.
In his testimony released Wednesday, Trump Jr said he did not tell his father ahead of time about the 2016 meeting at Trump Tower, also attended by the Republican candidate's campaign manager Paul Manafort and son-in-law Jared Kushner.
The document did not explicitly state what the payments were for.
The Mar-a-Lago resort, where the president frequently escaped for winter weekends, collected more than $25 million last year, down from $37 million from last year's report. "Mr. Trump fully reimbursed Mr. Cohen", the report said. The second missing report covered June 2017 to September 2017, and included more than $2 million in suspicious transfers.More news: Melania Trump's successful embolization treatment casts spotlight on interventional radiology
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Daniels' lawyer, Michael Avenatti, tweeted, "Mr. Trump's disclosure today conclusively proves that the American people were deceived".
A liberal-leaning watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, filed a complaint in March requesting an investigation into the payment and whether Trump broke the law by failing to disclose it past year.
"Do you know where he got the money to make that payment?" a reporter asked at the time.
The Trump Organization referred questions about the disclosure report to the president's lawyer Sheri Dillon of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.
At least an additional $1.1 million came from operations in the Philippines and Istanbul and at least $558,000 from Panama, where the Trump family had a branded condo and hotel complex, which was renamed earlier this year after a dispute with condo owners.
Mr Trump has at least $315 million in debt, about the same as he reported a year ago. The president owes Deutsch Bank as much as $175 million.
"Within approximately 75 days of the payment to Ms. Clifford, Mr. Viktor Vekselberg, a Russian oligarch with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, caused substantial funds to be deposited into the bank account from which Mr. Cohen made the payment". One of his biggest lenders is Ladder Capital, which has lent more than $100 million.
The president reported royalties from his 1987 book Art of the Deal in the same $100,000-$1m range as he did past year - and sales for some of his lesser titles picked up.