President Trump's alleged affair with adult-film star Stormy Daniels took a shocking turn today when it was officially revealed that Trump officially admitted that he reimbursed his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, for the infamous hush payment.
On Wednesday, Trump's annual disclosure of personal finances was released by the Office of Government Ethics. The document formally reflected that he made a massive payment to Cohen.
Cohen received more than $100,000 from the president, however, it is unclear exactly how much the lawyer was paid. Furthermore, the OGE did not disclose the reason for the payment.
The nature of the payment suggests that the payment was a reimbursement to Cohen, who had conducted a transaction with Stormy Daniels and her representatives on the eve of the 2016 presidential election.
Both Cohen and another personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, have said that some of the money was transferred as a means to reimburse Cohen for the hush money settlement with Daniels.
The president's own team also wrote that Cohen “sought reimbursement of [his] expenses and Mr. Trump fully reimbursed Mr. Cohen in 2017,” listing the value of the reimbursement somewhere between $100,001 and $250,000.
The financial report, which is required by federal ethics law, is drawing the attention of watchdog groups and federal investigators.
After the disclosure was filed, the OGE flagged the payment in a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. The action was reportedly carried out in case Rosenstein “[might] find the disclosure relevant to any inquiry”
Meanwhile, representatives for the president have praised Trump for his candor, arguing that they were not required to disclose the payment, but were doing so “in the interest of transparency.”
These recent revelations have completely flipped the Stormy Daniels case on its head. Trump's latest remarks on the hush payment contradict his earlier words and embolden Daniels' account of the affair.
Since the news broke of the payment, Trump has repeatedly lied to the American people about his involvement with Daniels. He initially stated that he had never met the adult-film actress or had any prior knowledge about the payment.
Of course, now he has flipped on both statements.
An image of Trump and Daniels surfaced quickly and Giuliani's recent appearance on Fox News shocked the country with the revelation that Trump reimbursed Cohen.
While Trump has been playing catch-up with the accusations, Michael Avenatti, a lawyer for Daniels, has become increasingly dumbfounded by Trump's tendency to lie.
Avenatti questioned why Trump was just now disclosing his reimbursement.
“Either Mr. Trump was lying then or he's lying now,” he said on MSNBC. “One of the two. But you can't reconcile this disclosure with what he previously stated to the American people on Air Force One.”