Trump lawyer Cohen 'sought $1m from Qatar'

Dwayne Harmon
May 17, 2018

US President Donald Trump repaid his lawyer, Michael Cohen, at least US$100,001 for an expense that occurred in 2016 - the year Cohen paid off porn star Stormy Daniels over an alleged affair with Trump, the Office of Government Ethics said on Wednesday.

The amount paid to Daniels, through Cohen, was said to be $130,000 - related to her claim of an affair with Trump before he was president.

How Trump dealt with the Daniels hush money in his disclosure has been closely watched, particularly after Giuliani gave interviews earlier this month saying the president had reimbursed Cohen in a series of payments after the campaign was over. The filing says that Trump "fully reimbursed Mr. Cohen in 2017".

"Cohen sought reimbursement of those expenses and Trump fully reimbursed Cohen in 2017", according to the document.

The disclosure, signed by Trump and released by the US Office of Government Ethics, did not describe the goal or the recipient of the original 2016 payment to a "third party" made by Cohen, for which he was reimbursed by Trump. However, the president's narrative was contradicted by newly on-boarded attorney Rudy Giuliani. It declares that the value of the payment ranged from $100,000 to $250,000.

The head of the nation's ethics office questioned why Trump didn't include this in his previous year's sworn disclosure and passed along his concerns to federal prosecutors.

The request to Qatar would be the latest such exchange offered by Cohen to be made public following acknowledgements by USA and European companies last week that they paid Cohen, who was Trump's lawyer for about a decade and self-described "fixer" for Trump.

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Novartis and AT&T have said they were contacted by the office of U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller about the situation in late 2017.

Earlier this year, Trump told reporters on Air Force One that he had not known about Cohen's payment to Daniels.

Mueller is investigating possible collusion between Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and Russian Federation, something that Trump has repeatedly denied.

After the payment to Daniels was first revealed by the Wall Street Journal, Cohen acknowledged making the payment himself.

On May 2, Rudy Giuliani, the former NY mayor who joined Trump's personal legal team in April, said that Trump had reimbursed Cohen for the payment.

Trump then acknowledged, via Twitter, the substance of Giuliani's assertion, which prompted 48 hours of contradictory follow-ups by both Giuliani and the White House about what Trump knew and when he might have known it, about any payments. 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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