Trump faulted for failing to disclose payment to Stormy Daniels

Felix Ehrat

Novartis ex-CEO says regrets hiring, not firing Trump lawyer

The 130,000-dollar 2016 payment to Stephanie Clifford, better known as adult performer Stormy Daniels, was made by Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who seems to have only been reimbursed a year ago, according to the president's 2017 financial disclosure form released Wednesday.

While the disclosure did not specify the objective of the payment, Cohen has said he paid $130,000 to Ms Daniels in the weeks before the 2016 presidential election to keep her from going public about her allegations that she had sex with the married Trump in 2006.

The $500,000 was deposited into the First Republic Bank account within 75 days of the payment to Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, Avenatti said Tuesday, and may have been used to cover the costs of preventing Daniels from talking about an alleged affair with President Donald Trump in 2006.

The former New York City mayor - now working as Trump's lawyer - on Wednesday told CNN the financial disclosure form Trump was required to send to the Office of Government Ethics was the reason Giuliani went public with the news during an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity earlier this month.

Trump had denied knowing where Cohen received the money to make the payment.

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In a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Apol said the disclosure may be relevant to an investigation into the financial disclosure report Trump filed past year, which did not disclose the no-interest loan.

Later that week, the president said the newly hired Mr Giuliani needed time to "get his facts straight".

Apol told Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that he was providing both Trump's 2017 and 2018 disclosures, as potentially "relevant to any inquiry" the Justice Department may be pursuing into the president's filings from a year ago.

Investigative journalist Ronan Farrow appeared on Wednesday night's Rachel Maddow Show to explain how he obtained the records that led to his latest break-through investigation into the Stormy Daniels and Michael Cohen scandal. "But we now have to wonder how many other liabilities for similar payments he has that he still has not disclosed because he has not been publicly called out on them".

The latest is the one that fueled last week's reports; it describes transactions with companies including Novartis and AT&T, which occurred from September 2017 to January 2018 and totaled almost a million dollars. "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", Apol tells Rosenstein. The report estimated the holdings are worth at least $1.4 billion.

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Some of the 12-month figures for his properties are down from his previous report, but that earlier report covered about 16 months and so it is not directly comparable.

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. "He had donated something close to $100 million, what's another $100,000?"

The debt figures are given in broad ranges in the report and capped at $50 million, so it's unclear just how much Trump actually owes.

When Trump took office, he refused to fully divest from his global business, another break with presidential tradition.

The owners of struggling hotels in Toronto and NY have paid the Trumps millions of dollars to remove their name from the properties after the election.

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