A payment from President Donald Trump to his attorney Michael Cohen - believed to have gone to adult film star Stormy Daniels - should have been disclosed a year ago, the Office of Government Ethics said Wednesday.
The OGE told the Justice Department in a letter released Wednesday, CNBC reported, that Cohen's payment to a third-party should legally have been detailed in the president's 2016 financial disclosure filing.
Donald Trump has officially disclosed - via a footnote in tiny print buried in his newly released financial records - that he reimbursed his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, for up to $250,000 in 2017.
"I am providing both reports to you because you may find the disclosure relevant to any inquiry you may be pursuing", Office of Government Ethics Acting Director David Apol wrote to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
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Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen, declared earlier this year that it was he and he alone who had arranged the payment for Daniels, and this admission caused Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti, to pounce.
On May 2, Rudy Giuliani, the former NY mayor who joined Trump's personal legal team in April, said Trump had reimbursed Cohen for the payment. It declares that the value of the payment ranged from $100,000 to $250,000.
The president denies the affair, and initially denied all knowledge of the payment, which Cohen has acknowledged was meant to stop her from going public with the allegations. It was valued at €23 million by the businessman just one year later in financial disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Ms Daniels claims of hush money were originally denied by Mr Trump.
When news of the $130,000 payment first broke, Michael D. Cohen did not deny it but said that he had not been reimbursed by either the president's company or campaign. Cohen has also admitted the hush payment was issued 11 days before Trump's election.
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In the disclosure, Trump also reports $14,184,974 in "golf related revenue" from the course.
Trump resigned as director of the two Irish companies that own and operate the resort before he was sworn in a president.
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. Meanwhile, Trump's D.C. hotel - which, fortuitously, opened its doors in September 2016 - has become one of the mogul's best-performing properties, as the patronage of foreign diplomats helped the venue produce $40.4 million in revenue previous year. His Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, received $25 million, and his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, generated $15 million. Mr Trump can take back control of the trust at any time, and he is allowed to withdraw cash from it as he pleases.
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