This is a summary of the numerous posts from earlier today. Those links are at the end of this post which includes the numerous letters that were sent out by Rep. Elijah Cummings and the notes he obtained.
House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings dropped a bomb with the latest information he has obtained for his investigation.
Chairman Cummings had sent out several letters which included White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and President Trump’s attorney for the Trump Organization Alan Futerfas.
Cummings had been requesting documentation since September of 2018 from Cipollone regarding the hush payments to Stormy Daniels. Cipollone has not provided any documentation and the answer is more than obvious why he hasn’t.
But now, Cummings obtained internal notes taken by the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) that described their interactions with the White House lawyers regarding the President’s payments and debts to Michael Cohen.
Cummings focuses on two lawyers; a private attorney and a government attorney.
Rep. Cummings mentions Sheri Dillon who is President Trump’s personal attorney. Rep. Cummings says that Dillon “repeatedly stated to federal officials at OGE that President Trump never owed any money to Mr. Cohen in 2016 and 2017.”
Remember, the story on Daniels has changed numerous times, just like the Trump Tower meeting.
First, Trump knew nothing about Stormy Daniels and Michael Cohen claimed he paid her out of his own pocket as a loyalty pledge for Trump.
Then Trump’s team admitted the payments, they had no choice because by then Stormy Daniels, represented by Michael Avenatti, had filed suit trying to set aside the NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) on the grounds that it was never signed by President Trump or his pseudonym “David Dennison.”
Then, the story changed again where Cohen was reimbursed for those payments thanks to another foot-in-mouth moment by Rudy Giuliani whereby he called the payments a “retainer” and it was “funneled through the law firm.”
Even Fox News’ Sean Hannity seemed taken aback by the comment and was obviously caught off-guard as that information had not been disclosed.
Thanks to Giuliani’s slip-up, the Trump legal team acknowledged the payment, but as a private transaction and thus, it was not required to be disclosed on financial forms. Then, Trump amended the disclosure forms to include the Daniels’ payment.
Dillon was asked by the Office of Government Ethics “if there was any money owed in 2016, he would have to amend to report that, so please confirm he did not owe Mr. Cohen money…At any point did he owe Mr. Cohen money?”
Dillon originally replied that she was not aware of any payments made to Cohen from Trump, but later on said that she “confirmed that with the filer,” a reference to President Trump.
Once knowledge of the payment to Daniels became known, Deputy White House Counsel Stefan Passantino claimed the payments were merely “revolving credit” that “shouldn’t be disclosed.”
This led the OGE to ask Dillon about the various explanations and she cited that the information was “privileged.”
This contradicts the plea deal with prosecutors in New York with Cohen because they have indicated that there was no such retainer agreement.
Documents obtained by the federal prosecutors in New York show that President Trump reimbursed Cohen for more than $420,000 in payments, but his disclosure forms show only “up to $250,000.”
So, now we have proof of the payment, but no retainer agreement between Trump and Cohen. As Cummings writes, “at that point, Dillon abandoned her previous argument that President Trump never made any payments to Mr. Cohen. Instead she told OGE officials: ‘Mr. Cohen always knew that he would be reimbursed but the mechanisms for reimbursement changed over time.’”
Dillon, according to the committee documents, likened the reimbursements to “payments for a kitchen remodel” meaning expenses that Cohen had incurred.
You can bet that Cohen will have no proof of any expenses being reimbursed and his testimony will be the complete opposite.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated as new information becomes available.
- January 8, 2019 Letter to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone
- February 15, 2019 Letter to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone
- Letter Sent to Alan Futerfas- Lawyer for the Trump Organization
- Notes Obtained by Cummings’ on the Hush Payments
Latest News and Posts on the Trump Administration
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This post updated to correct the name of President Trump’s private attorney.
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Alexander Hernandez is a practicing attorney since 1999 who enjoys blogging about politics when he is not riding his motorcycles or playing golf. He is also an Amazon best selling author.