First, on Wednesday the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), released the President’s financial disclosure report. The financial disclosure shows that President Trump reimbursed his one-time personal attorney and self-proclaimed “fixer,” Michael Cohen, in the amount between $100,001-$250,000.
The payment disclosure found in a footnote on page forty-five of the ninety-two page report, has already resulted in the OGE sending a letter along with the financial disclosure to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the letter says in part that President Trump was required to report the payment as a liability.
But President Trump’s lawyers said that the disclosing of the payment was voluntarily given, not because it was required, but “in an interest to be transparent.” The lawyers went on to explain, “in 2016 expenses were incurred by one of Donald J. Trump’s attorneys, Michael Cohen. Mr. Cohen sought reimbursement of those expenses and Mr. Trump fully reimbursed Mr. Cohen in 2017.”
Second, The Washington Post reports that Michael Cohen sought one million dollars from the government of Qatar, in exchange Cohen would provide, “access to and advice about the then upcoming Trump administration, according to several sources with knowledge of the episode.”
The offer was made to the then head of the investment division of the country’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority, Ahmed al-Rumaihi who around the twelfth of December was visiting Trump Tower as part of the Qatari delegation, Michael Cohen was not part of the official meetings. The Intercept reported Wednesday that Rumaihi had confirmed to them during an interview that he refused to pay Cohen.
Third, Yahoo News says that officials, prosecutors and congressional investigators, have obtained text messages and emails showing that Michael Cohen was working on the deal for a Trump Tower in Moscow well into the 2016 presidential election contradicting a statement that he provided to the House intelligence committee back in August 2017. In the statement to the committee Cohen stated the discussion for a potential development in Moscow occurred in the fall of 2015, but by January 2016 he gave up on the project when he determined the “proposal was not feasible for a variety of business reasons and should not be pursued further.”
But according to yahoo, text messages and emails from Felix Sater, provided to the government seem to contradict Cohen’s congressional statement. It’s alleged that these communications show Cohen was still discussing the deal until at least May of 2016.
Fourth, The New Yorker spoke with a law-enforcement official that claims to be the source of the leaked financial records that media outlets obtained last week. The financial records in question pertain to Essential Consultants, L.L.C, the shell company started by Michael Cohen in the fall of 2016 and is responsible for issuing Stephanie Clifford aka Stormy Daniels a payment of $130,000, in return for her not speaking about the alleged affair she had with Donald Trump.
This official explains to The New Yorker the motivation for releasing the financial records was concern when it was discovered two suspicious-activity reports or sars had gone missing from a government database, which is maintained by the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, (FINCEN.) The official tells The New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow, “I have never seen something pulled off the system. . . . That system is a safeguard for the bank. It’s a stockpile of information. When something’s not there that should be, I immediately became concerned.” The official added, “That’s why I came forward.”
The FINCEN issued a statement to the New Yorker, stating they can neither confirm or deny the existence of the purported sars.
The leak of the records is currently being investigated by the Treasury Department’s inspector general.