Bank Flagged Trump Lawyer's Payment to Porn Star for Suspicious Activity

Hannah Rogers
March 6, 2018

Michael Cohen, Trump's longtime lawyer, sent the money through an account he created at First Republic Bank, the report says.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked about the payment for the first time publicly at Monday's press briefing, as a reporter used Daniels' real name, Stephanie Clifford, to address the issue.

President Donald Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen complained to friends he had not been reimbursed for a six-figure payment to a porn star alleged to have had an affair with Trump, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

The payment to Clifford was in return for her signing an agreement that she would not discuss any details of an alleged sexual encounter with Trump in 2006. Cohen reportedly bungled the payments because he couldn't get a hold of Trump during the hectic final days of the campaign.

But per the WSJ report, after Trump won Cohen was complaining about how "he had yet to be reimbursed for the payment to Ms. Clifford".

The Journal noted that the lengthy lag between the payment and that inquiry is unusual and suggests the bank received information that made it review the matter.

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Neither Cohen's bank nor Clifford's lawyer's bank commented to The Wall Street Journal. He said he wasn't reimbursed by the Trump campaign or the Trump Organization, his former employer, but declined to answer questions about whether he was reimbursed by Mr. Trump or anyone else. "Not that I'm aware of", Sanders replied.

Mr. Cohen had said last month that he had "facilitated" the payment using his own funds, that the deal was a private transaction and that it didn't violate any laws.

After the Wall Street Journal broke the original story exposing the hush money payment, the group Common Cause filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission and the Department of Justice arguing that the money represented an 'unreported in-kind contribution to Donald J. Trump for President, Inc'.

First Republican, the Wall Street Journal's sources said, flagged the transaction and alerted the Treasury Department.

The money was received on October 27, 2016, 12 days before the presidential election, another person familiar with the matter said.

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