President Donald Trump acknowledged for the first time that he repaid his lawyer Michael Cohen more than $100,000 for expenses Cohen incurred during the 2016 presidential election, according to a financial disclosure form released Wednesday.
The announcement comes after Novartis was dragged into the scandal over Cohen's payment of $130,000 to USA porn actress Stormy Daniels just days before the 2016 presidential election. Giuliani's statement contradicted Trump earlier having said that he had no knowledge about any payment made to Clifford.
Trump's new disclosure statement did not describe the objective or the recipient of the 2016 payment made by Cohen.
The payment made by Cohen was between $100,001 and $250,000 and there was no interest incurred, the report said. In April, Trump told reporters he did not know anything about the payment.
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Ethics disclosures are an annual requirement for senior federal officials and are overseen by the ethics office, a government watchdog that provides oversight of an executive branch programme to prevent and resolve conflicts of interest.
The 92-page report lists Mr. Trump's more than 200 property holdings, including Trump Tower in NY and his private Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, valued at more than $50 million.
Trump, his campaign and Cohen have all denied any wrongdoing.
And Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, which the president frequents in the winter months, saw revenues of $25.1 million. "No campaign finance violation", Giuliani said, because those in charge of paying off Daniels "Funneled it through [Cohen's] law firm, and the President repaid [Cohen]".
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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.
In a letter to deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, the acting director of the Office of Government Ethics, David Apol, said the payment should have been reported as a liability. "It is absolutely stunning that we've reached the point where the President of the United States appears to have lied to U.S. Office of Government Ethics about a payoff to a porn star". But the president retains ownership of those businesses, through a trust, and can take money out of them at any time.
The disclosure was not included in Trump's 2017 filing.
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