Trump Officially Recognizes Michael Cohen Payment in New Financial Disclosure Form

Ethics officials say the payment should have been publicly listed last year.

Go Nakamura/ZUMA

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

On Wednesday, the Office of Government Ethics released President Donald Trump’s 2017 financial disclosure form, which officially recognizes a previously undisclosed payment to the president’s longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen last year. The documents indicate that the payment was for a $100,001 to $250,000 reimbursement to a “third-party” related to the 2016 election; the form did not provide any additional details to explain what the money covered. 

The office indicated in the documents that it believed the president should have publicly listed the payment to Cohen in the form he filed last year—not this one. “OGE 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,” a note read.

In addition, ethics officials wrote a letter addressed to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein noting that the payment is “required to be reported as a liability.” “I am providing both reports to you because you may find the disclosure relevant to any inquiry you may be pursuing regarding the President’s prior report that was signed on June 14, 2017,” ethics office acting director David Apol wrote.

Earlier this month, Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for the president, admitted on live television that Trump had repaid Cohen $130,000 to keep adult film actress Stormy Daniels from publicly discussing allegations of an affair with Trump. Contradicting legal experts, Giuliani has maintained that the payment, which took place shortly before the 2016 election, did not violate campaign finance laws. 

Prior to Giuliani’s explosive statements, Trump had told reporters that he was unaware of any payments to Cohen.

This post has been updated.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate