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Democrat calls for congressional probe into President Trump's potentially 'illegal' payoff to Stormy Daniels – NY Daily News


A storm is brewing in the halls of Congress.
A storm is brewing in the halls of Congress.
Rep. Elijah Cummings on Friday called for a congressional probe into whether President Trump violated federal law by reimbursing his longtime personal lawyer for a $130,000 hush payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.
Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, pointed to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s recent revelation that Trump “funneled” cash through his attorney Michael Cohen, who in turn paid Daniels in exchange for her promising to keep mum about allegedly having sex with Trump in 2006. The payment could have violated federal campaign finance laws, as it might be considered an illegal in-kind donation.
Cummings (D-Md.) said Giuliani’s remarks this week add another element to Trump’s potential legal woes.
“Although President Trump and Mr. Giuliani appear to be arguing against potential prosecution for illegal campaign donations, they have now opened up an entirely new legal concern — that the President may have violated federal law when he concealed the payment to Ms. Clifford,” Cummings said in a statement, using Daniels’ real name.
Federal law states that federal officials must publically disclose “financial liabilities that could affect their decision-making on behalf of the American people.”
Giuliani, who joined Trump’s legal team less than two weeks ago, said Wednesday on Fox News that Trump repaid Cohen “over several months” by putting him on a monthly retainer of $35,000.
Since Cohen has admitted to paying off Daniels 11 days before the election, some of Trump’s reimbursement payments would have taken place after he took office. Yet, Trump did not declare any financial liabilities to Cohen in his financial disclosure forms last summer.
That means he might have broken federal ethics laws, according to Cummings.
“The Committee should obtain all documents necessary to determine whether the President or his campaign violated federal laws,” Cummings said.
Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, welcomed Cummings’ request.
“Congress should show interest,” Avenatti told the Daily News Friday afternoon. “This isn’t about being on the left or the right; this is about truth and a search for the truth.”
Avenatti is representing Daniels, 39, in her civil lawsuit against Cohen, which seeks to null a nondisclosure agreement that bars her from speaking publically about her tryst claims.
Avenatti said he hopes lawmakers will obtain the suspicious activity report that Cohen’s bank filed after he transferred the hush money to Daniels via her then-attorney Keith Davidson.
“That should be the first step,” Avenatti said.
Avenatti speculated that Giuliani’s unexpected announcement about Trump repaying Cohen was part of a deliberate strategy to “get out in front of what’s coming.”
“The problem is that they’ve spent the last four months lying to the American people about it,” Avenatti said.

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