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President Trump lists Cohen reimbursement of up to $250K

16 May 2018

President Donald Trump acknowledged for the first time in an ethics disclosure released on Wednesday that he repaid more than $100,001 to former personal attorney Michael Cohen, shedding new light on a scandal involving Trump and porn star Stormy Daniels.

But the acting director of the ethics office, David Apol, in a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said it should have been disclosed in ethics documents that Trump filed in June 2017.

Cohen has admitted to having paid $130,000 to the adult film actress, Stephanie Clifford ― also known as Stormy Daniels ― after she went public about an affair that she claims to have had with Trump.

Trump said he was listing the reimbursements to Michael Cohen - first made public by lawyer Rudy Giuliani two weeks ago - "in the interest of transparency", even though he said he was not required to disclose them. Trump had earlier denied knowledge of such a payment.

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The personal financial disclosure report, which is required of top government officials, offers an insight into the U.S. president's vast property and business network.

This is a developing story.

Trump's latest disclosure filing said Cohen incurred the expense in 2016 and that Cohen "sought reimbursement" in 2017.

The ethics disclosure draws a clearer connection between Trump and Cohen and further underlines inconsistencies in descriptions provided by Trump and aides about the payments. Mr Trump bought the five-star Doonbeg resort in 2014, reportedly for €9 million. The disclosure was not included in Trump's 2017 filing. Trump has denied any relationship with Daniels.

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Ethics experts say that if that money isn't disclosed, Trump could be in violation of ethics laws for failing to disclose a reportable item, a violation for which others have been prosecuted. Past year it took the agency about two days to make Trump's disclosure form public after it was submitted.

Federal law requires White House officials, including the president, to "report liabilities owed to any creditor that exceeded $10,000 at any time during the reporting period".

The ethics disclosure also contained information on Trump's personal businesses.

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President Trump lists Cohen reimbursement of up to $250K