In Summary
  • The documents released Wednesday by a US government ethics body, do not specify the reason for the payments to Cohen.

  • Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, claims she had a tryst with Trump in 2006 while he was married.

  • The president denies the affair, and initially denied all knowledge of the payment.

WASHINGTON,

President Donald Trump has formally disclosed that he reimbursed his personal attorney more than $100,000 last year, apparently in connection with the payment of hush money to a porn star, government records show.

The disclosure caps a series of contradictory statements from Trump and his representatives on the scandal swirling around lawyer Michael Cohen — which has widened to ensnare major corporations and a Russian oligarch.

The documents released Wednesday by a US government ethics body, do not specify the reason for the payments to Cohen, who paid $130,000 to adult film actress Stormy Daniels in the run-up to the 2016 election.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, claims she had a tryst with Trump in 2006 while he was married.

The president denies the affair, and initially denied all knowledge of the payment, which Cohen has acknowledged was intended to stop her from going public with the allegations.

Trump's claim began to unravel early this month, however, after Rudy Giuliani, a new member of the president's legal team, said Trump had reimbursed Cohen for the sum paid to Daniels — and the president himself subsequently acknowledged the repayment.

A footnote to disclosures submitted Tuesday to the Office of Government Ethics said Cohen had incurred "expenses" on Trump's behalf in 2016 of between $100,001 and $250,000.

"Mr. Cohen sought reimbursement of those expenses and Mr. Trump fully reimbursed Mr. Cohen in 2017," it said.

Trump's filing states that the president was not required to disclose Cohen's expenses, but was doing so in the interest of transparency.

But an accompanying letter to the Justice Department from David Apol, the acting head of the Office of Government Ethics, said the payments by Cohen were indeed required to be reported, as also argued by an outside government ethics group which had lodged official complaints in March.

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 last year.

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