Criminal Complaint Filed Against Trump By CREW

Trump appears to have violated federal law by failing to disclose that he owed his attorney the $130,000 hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels, according to a supplemental criminal and ethics complaint filed on Thursday by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

All hell is breaking loose in the wake of Rudy Giuliani’s admission to Fox News’ host Sean Hannity on Wednesday night that Trump paid back his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, the $130,000 in hush money that was used to pay off Stormy Daniels.

Norm Eisen, a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute, CNN commentator, and Chairman of CREW ( Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington), quickly weighed in, tweeting: “Whoa, Rudy may just have proven our @CREWcrew complaint that Trump broke the law by failing to disclose the loan from Cohen on his federal presidential financial disclosures. Those are filed under criminal penalty for false statements, 18 USC 1001.”

Making matters worse, Trump dug his heels in first thing Thursday morning with another Twitter-Tantrum.

Mr. Cohen, an attorney, received a monthly retainer, not from the campaign and having nothing to do with the campaign, from which he entered into, through reimbursement, a private contract between two parties, known as a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA. These agreements are very common among celebrities and people of wealth. In this case it is in full force and effect and will be used in Arbitration for damages against Ms. Clifford (Daniels). The agreement was used to stop the false and extortionist accusations made by her about an affair despite already having signed a detailed letter admitting that there was no affair. Prior to its violation by Ms. Clifford and her attorney, this was a private agreement. Money from the campaign, or campaign contributions, played no roll in this transaction.

In the wake of Trump’s Twitter-Tantrum, Eisen and the team at CREW went to work filing a supplemental complaint to their earlier criminal and ethics complaint regarding the Stormy Daniels payment.

Thursday, Eisen announced the filing, tweeting: “If Cohen loan was not one to campaign, then it was one to you, and you omitted it from your personal federal financial disclosures for the period. That’s a crime under 18 USC 1001 & we have filed a criminal complaint with DOJ.”

CREW published the following press release announcing the supplemental pleading on their website. [You can click here to see the actual complaint.]

Washington—President Trump appears to have violated federal law by failing to disclose that he owed his attorney the $130,000 hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels, according to a supplemental criminal and ethics complaint filed today by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

On March 8th, CREW, along with its Board Chair Norman Eisen, requested that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) investigate whether the payment made by Trump lawyer Michael Cohen constituted a loan which Trump intended to repay and which he would then have been required to report on the public financial disclosure form he filed last year. Newly hired Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani appeared to confirm that it was a loan and that the president subsequently repaid it in interviews with Fox NewsThe Washington Post and The New York Times last night.

“There is now more than enough evidence for the DOJ to investigate whether President Trump intentionally omitted the Stormy Daniels liability from his personal financial disclosures,” Eisen said. “This is a very serious matter, including because there can be criminal penalties for false statements.”

Trump was legally required to disclose any liability in excess of $10,000. He signed his financial disclosures attesting that they were complete and true, despite the absence of the payment.

“It’s not often that the president’s lawyer goes on television and appears to confirm one of our complaints,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said. “The president has an obligation to be transparent and truthful about his financial interests, and failing to do so can be not just an ethics violation, but also a serious criminal offense. The DOJ and OGE must launch a thorough investigation and take any and all appropriate action.”

Democratic Representative Led Lieu of California also responded to the news, discussing potential criminal liability to include both the personal financial disclosure issues detailed by CREW and possible violations of campaign finance laws.

He started by posting a link to a thread discussing the admission posted by Paul Seamus Ryan, the Vice President of Policy & Litigation at political watchdog, Common Cause.

The lead post of Ryan’s thread read as follows: “Giuliani’s statement that @realDonaldTrump reimbursed Cohen for the $130k payment to @StormyDaniels puts Trump on the hook for criminal violation of campaign finance laws. Violation is only criminal if knowing and willful. Trump reimbursement=Trump knowledge.”

Lieu responded by tweeting: “Here’s a fun fact: campaign finance law violations over $25k are felonies. The in kind contribution of $130k to Stormy Daniels was over that line. The reimbursement constitutes a separate crime of covering up the true source of a contribution. Also likely banking law violations.”

Lieu went on to detail four possible felonies that could stem from Giuliani’s remarks to Sean Hannity and subsequent ones to others in the media.

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Samuel Warde

Samuel is a writer, social activist, and all-around troublemaker.
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