Sunday, 20 May, 2018

Ethics director questions Trump's reimbursement to lawyer Cohen

Michael Avenatti, Anthony Scaramucci-Led TV Show Being Shopped Could Michael Avenatti and Anthony Scaramucci team up for a TV show?
Andy Castillo | 18 May, 2018, 15:55

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump submitted his 2017 financial disclosure report, and he included a payment he made to attorney Michael Cohen as reimbursement for a payment Cohen made to a third party in 2016 (the third party was unnamed but is believed to be Stormy Daniels).

Those revelations were part of by the attorney who is suing Cohen and Trump on behalf of adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

In April, Mr Trump said he was unaware Mr Cohen had paid Ms Daniels just before the 2016 election.

President Donald Trump's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, told Business Insider that new information about the president's reimbursement of longtime lawyer Michael Cohen does not undercut his previous statements on the issue.

The investigation began last week after Michael Avenatti, an attorney for adult-film star Stormy Daniels, detailed transactions in which large firms with business interests before the USA government transferred hundreds of thousands of dollars to Essential Consultants, a company controlled by Cohen.

A career law-enforcement official told The New Yorker's Ronan Farrow in a story published on Wednesday night that they were unable to find the two suspicious activity reports (SARs) filed by First Republic Bank that documented those transactions. But Giuliani said in early May that the president had indeed repaid Cohen. The payment to Daniels was made via a limited-liability company, Essential Consultants, which Cohen had set up in 2016. The most recent report - the only one made public so far - examined Cohen's transactions from September of 2017 to January of 2018, and included activity totalling nearly a million dollars. Among his holdings, he took in $25 million from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. He also said the decision was not related to Trump's presidential campaign.

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A prior disclosure made past year covered a 16-month period and showed $37.3 million in revenues for Mar-a-Lago. "To say that I am terrified right now would be an understatement", the official said.

Sater, who worked closely with Trump and had an office in the president's NY tower, reached out to Cohen in May 2016 and tried to gauge when Trump could fit the trip to Moscow into his busy campaign schedule.

The report also showed Trump earned between $230,000 and $1.1 million in capital gains income on stock in iPhone maker Apple, Caterpillar, Microsoft and Pepsico.

The offer, which Qatar declined, came on the margins of a December 12 meeting that year at Trump Tower between the Persian Gulf state's foreign minister and Michael Flynn, who became Trump's first national security adviser.

The group, known as CREW, had filed a complaint with the justice department and the ethics office asking for an investigation into whether the payment constituted a loan.

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