Trump just revealed the Michael Cohen payment on his financial disclosure form, which introduces a bunch of new headaches

  • President Donald Trump listed the reimbursement to lawyer Michael Cohen on his 2018 financial disclosure form.
  • The reimbursement came after Cohen's $130,000 hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.
  • Experts say the disclosure introduces new headaches for Trump.
  • The Office of Government Ethics sent a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein regarding the report.

President Donald Trump, in his 2018 financial disclosure report released Wednesday, revealed that he reimbursed his longtime lawyer Michael Cohen for the $130,000 hush money payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels. Cohen had facilitated the payment just prior to the 2016 presidential election.

Daniels alleged she had a 2006 affair with Trump, and Cohen made the payment to keep her from discussing her allegations with the press. She is now suing Cohen.

The 92-page financial disclosure form says the payment was "not required to be disclosed as 'reportable liabilities,'" though it said Trump disclosed it "in the interest of transparency."

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Michael Cohen, Stormy Daniels hush payment scandal
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Michael Cohen, Stormy Daniels hush payment scandal
Adult-film actress Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels speaks to the media outside US Federal Court on April 16, 2018, in Lower Manhattan, New York. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen has been under criminal investigation for months over his business dealings, and FBI agents last week raided his home, hotel room, office, a safety deposit box and seized two cellphones. Some of the documents reportedly relate to payments to porn star Stormy Daniels, who claims a one-night stand with Trump a decade ago, and ex Playboy model Karen McDougal who also claims an affair. / AFP PHOTO / HECTOR RETAMAL (Photo credit should read HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen arrives at federal court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 16, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Michael Avenatti, lawyer for adult film actress Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, leaves federal court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 16, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Michael Cohen's attorney Todd Harrison arrives at federal court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 16, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Segar
U.S. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen (centre) leaves federal court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 16, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan Mcdermid
Adult film actress Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels speaks to media along with lawyer Michael Avenatti (R) outside federal court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 16, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Michael Cohen's attorney Todd Harrison is pictured outside the Manhattan Federal Court in New York City, New York, U.S., April 13, 2018. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon
U.S. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen exits a hotel in New York City, U.S., April 11, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Adult film actress Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, speaks to media along with lawyer Michael Avenatti (R) outside federal court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 16, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan Mcdermid
Attorney for Stormy Daniels, Michael Avenatti is pictured though a window as he arrives at federal court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 16, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and attorney Michael Avenatti arrive at Federal Court in New York, U.S., on Monday, April 16, 2018. Daniels claims she had sex with Donald Trump in 2006 and took a $130,000 hush payment shortly before the 2016 election from lawyer Michael Cohen. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images
President Trumps lawyer Michael Cohen exits the US Federal Court on April 16, 2018, in Lower Manhattan, New York. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen has been under criminal investigation for months over his business dealings, and FBI agents last week raided his home, hotel room, office, a safety deposit box and seized two cellphones. Some of the documents reportedly relate to payments to porn star Stormy Daniels, who claims a one-night stand with Trump a decade ago, and ex Playboy model Karen McDougal who also claims an affair. / AFP PHOTO / EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ (Photo credit should read EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Adult-film actress Stephanie Clifford, (C) also known as Stormy Daniels arrives for a court hearing at the US Courthouse in New York on April 16, 2018. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen has been under criminal investigation for months over his business dealings, and FBI agents last week raided his home, hotel room, office, a safety deposit box and seized two cellphones. / AFP PHOTO / Hector RETAMAL (Photo credit should read HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)
Attorney for Stormy Daniels, Michael Avenatti(C), arrives for a court hearing at the US Courthouse in New York on April 16, 2018. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen has been under criminal investigation for months over his business dealings, and FBI agents last week raided his home, hotel room, office, a safety deposit box and seized two cellphones. / AFP PHOTO / HECTOR RETAMAL (Photo credit should read HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 13: Michael Avenatti (R), attorney for Stormy Daniels, arrives for a court proceeding regarding the search warrants served on President Donald Trump's longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen, at the United States District Court Southern District of New York, April 13, 2018 in New York City. Cohen and his lawyers are asking the court to block Justice Department officials from reading documents and materials related to his relationship with President Donald Trump that they believe should be protected by attorney-client privilege. Officials with the FBI, armed with a search warrant, raided Cohen's office and two private residences earlier in the week. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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In "2016 expenses were incurred by one of Donald J. Trump's attorneys, Michael Cohen," the form read. "Mr. Cohen sought reimbursement of those expenses and Mr. Trump fully reimbursed Mr. Cohen in 2017. The category of value would be $100,001-$250,000 and the interest rate would be zero."

The Office of Government Ethics, which released the form, disagreed with the assessment.

"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," the agency wrote.

That means the agency believes Trump should have disclosed the payment in last year's filing.

OGE Director David Apol sent a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein after making the disclosure public, saying that "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."

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Walter Shaub, former director of the Office of Government Ethics
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Walter Shaub, former director of the Office of Government Ethics
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 8: Walter Shaub, Director of the United States Office of Government Ethics in Washington, DC on June 8, 2017. (Photo Linda Davidson/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 8: Walter Shaub, Director of the United States Office of Government Ethics in Washington, DC on June 8, 2017. (Photo Linda Davidson/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 01: Walter Shaub, former director of the Office of Government Ethics, participates in a briefing on about President Trump's refusal to divest his businesses and the administration's delay in disclosing ethics waivers for appointees, on Capitol Hill November 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 8: Walter Shaub, Director of the United States Office of Government Ethics in Washington, DC on June 8, 2017. (Photo Linda Davidson/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 01: Walter Shaub, former director of the Office of Government Ethics, participates in a briefing on about President Trump's refusal to divest his businesses and the administration's delay in disclosing ethics waivers for appointees, on Capitol Hill November 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 01: Walter Shaub, former director of the Office of Government Ethics, participates in a briefing on about President Trump's refusal to divest his businesses and the administration's delay in disclosing ethics waivers for appointees, on Capitol Hill November 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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"This is tantamount to a criminal referral," tweeted Walter Shaub, the former director of the OGE under Trump who has since become one of his chief critics. "OGE has effectively reported the president to DOJ for potentially committing a crime."

The disclosure comes just weeks after Trump's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, claimed that Trump reimbursed Cohen for the payment via a retainer. Giuliani claimed that Trump did not know the purpose of the payment until recently. Cohen had initially claimed that Trump did not reimburse him for the hush money payment to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford. Cohen and the White House have denied the Daniels allegation.

Shaub tweeted that the disclosure means that Trump is "sticking with the claim that he did not know about the debt last year, which is implausible." Shaub added that Trump is claiming there are no other debts, and that Giuliani "may have lied" when he said Trump paid Cohen $460,000 through the retainer.

"In turn, that means that Trump committed a crime if the omission was 'knowing and willful," Shaub wrote. "Trump may be wondering today whether the information DOJ seized from Cohen's office included any emails or other documents showing he knew of the debt when he filed last year's report."

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