Questions On Finances and Ethics, and More Details on the 2016 Trump Tower Meeting

It has previously been disclosed to the public that Trump did in fact reimburse his attorney Michael Cohen for the hush money payment given to adult film star Stormy Daniels. Wednesday of this week the public received more information about Trump's finances has his public financial disclosure form was released. The form contained information revealing that Trump had "fully reimbursed" Cohen in 2017 for expenses incurred in the  prior year. The reasoning for the reimbursement was not listed within the disclosure due to ‘reportable liabilities’ on the form but was reportedly in the “interest of transparency”. The disclosure was followed up by a letter from the Office of Government Ethics stating that the payment made to Cohen as a liability. The disclosure further corroborated claims made by Trump’s legal team - specifically Rudy Giuliani - that Trump had been personally reimbursing Cohen in monthly installments of $35,000, totaling to $470,000. Trump’s June 2017 filing accounted for close to $600 million in income without any mention of payments to Cohen or his firm, Essential Consultants.

The Office of Government Ethics further weighed in on Trump’s public financial disclosure. A footnote on page 45 of the disclosure reads, “In the interest of transparency, while not required to be disclosed as 'reportable liabilities' on Part 8, in 2016 expenses were incurred by one of Donald J. Trump's attorneys, Michael Cohen, Mr. Cohen sought reimbursement of those expenses and Mr. Trump fully reimbursed Mr. Cohen in 2017".  Despite the attempt made by Trump to explain the payments, David Apol, the OGE's acting director, sent a letter to the Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, claiming that Trump was required to report the payment as a liability earlier a year earlier. The letter was prompted by a complaint form the Citizens of Responsibility and Ethics in Washington D.C. The complaint was concerned with Trump’s knowing and willful failure to disclose the payments. In response, "OGE has concluded that, based on the information provided as a note to part 8, the payment made by Mr. Cohen is required to be reported as a liability," Apol wrote, adding, "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".

The Senate Judiciary Committee also released 2,500 pages  of documents in relation to the investigation being conducted into the meeting that took place between Trump aides and a delegation of Russians back in 2016. It was in this meeting that the Russians allegedly promised to help the Trump campaign. The documents released reaffirm who was involved in the meeting and that Trump aides were seeking to get “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. There are new revelations in the documents including; Trump Jr. potentially speaking with his father at the time the meeting at Trump Tower was being arranged, a Russian attorney did offer at least on political tip to be used against the democrats, and that the Russian social network, VK, may have contributed to voter outreach benefiting the Trump campaign. In a statement regarding the release of documents, Trump Jr. said, “I appreciate the opportunity to have assisted the Judiciary Committee in its inquiry," Trump Jr. said. "The public can now see that for over five hours I answered every question asked and was candid and forthright with the committee".