Trump Officially Recognizes Michael Cohen Payment in New Financial Disclosure Form

Ethics officials say the payment should have been publicly listed last year.

Go Nakamura/ZUMA

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

On Wednesday, the Office of Government Ethics released President Donald Trump’s 2017 financial disclosure form, which officially recognizes a previously undisclosed payment to the president’s longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen last year. The documents indicate that the payment was for a $100,001 to $250,000 reimbursement to a “third-party” related to the 2016 election; the form did not provide any additional details to explain what the money covered. 

The office indicated in the documents that it believed the president should have publicly listed the payment to Cohen in the form he filed last year—not this one. “OGE has concluded that the information related to the payment made by Mr. Cohen is required to be reported and that the information provided meets the disclosure requirement for a reportable liability,” a note read.

In addition, ethics officials wrote a letter addressed to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein noting that the payment is “required to be reported as a liability.” “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,” ethics office acting director David Apol wrote.

Earlier this month, Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for the president, admitted on live television that Trump had repaid Cohen $130,000 to keep adult film actress Stormy Daniels from publicly discussing allegations of an affair with Trump. Contradicting legal experts, Giuliani has maintained that the payment, which took place shortly before the 2016 election, did not violate campaign finance laws. 

Prior to Giuliani’s explosive statements, Trump had told reporters that he was unaware of any payments to Cohen.

This post has been updated.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate