Trump lawyer asked Qatar for $1m for access to president

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 17, 2018

President Donald Trump revealed in his financial disclosure Wednesday that he reimbursed personal attorney Michael Cohen as much as $250,000 for unspecified "expenses", with no mention of a $130,000 payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about a sexual tryst she said they had.

The announcement comes after Novartis was dragged into the scandal over Cohen's payment of $130,000 to U.S. porn actress Stormy Daniels just days before the 2016 presidential election.

A reason for the payment to Cohen was not specified in the financial disclosure that the Office of Government Ethics released, The New York Times reported.

In his annual disclosure of personal finances, President Trump acknowledged that he paid lawyer Michael Cohen between $100,000 and $250,000 a year ago.

The Office of Government Ethics released Trump's disclosure form on Wednesday. "It appears that these funds may have replenished the account following the payment to Ms. Clifford", read a summary of findings from Avenatti and Associates.

The FBI raided the offices of Cohen last month, a move that Trump angrily denounced as a "disgrace" and "whole new level of unfairness".

MELBER: Two women who allege that they have agreements with Michael Cohen or Donald Trump?

A Qatari diplomat - who told the Post about Cohen's offer - said the lawyer offered to find US infrastructure projects for Qatar to sponsor in exchange for the $1 million.

Novartis said its general counsel, Felix Ehrat, had made a decision to retire from his position in the "context of discussions" surrounding the payments to Cohen. Dillon didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

He added that he doesn't agree with the ethics office's contention that the payments had to be disclosed.

It was a complaint by CREW last week that prompted the Justice Department and OGE to investigate the omission of the Cohen liability from the 2017 report.

Sater told Yahoo News he provided the texts to investigators voluntarily and without a subpoena. Giuliani also took issue with whether the reimbursement, which he said had been paid through a 12-installment retainer to Cohen, "even had to be disclosed" at all. The report said the president did not have to disclose the payment but was doing so "in the interest of transparency".

Personal gifts disclosed by Trump include golf-related items from two professional golfers: a golf bag and clubs worth $1,150 from Kevin Streelman and $750 clubs from Bryson Dechambeau.

Jimenez said he was personally interviewed by Mueller's team over Novartis's payments.

Michael Avenatti, an attorney representing Daniels, on Tuesday questioned why Trump was acknowledging the payment - and his reimbursement of Cohen - now.

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