• Trump's disclosure of his Stormy Daniels reimbursement reveals yet another contradiction

    Yet another thing Rudolph W. Giuliani said about President Trump's Stormy Daniels reimbursement has now come into question.

    Trump's newly filed financial disclosure form includes a footnote that, for the first time, officially lists the reimbursement to Michael Cohen:

    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. Trnmp's attorneys, Michael Cohen. Mr. Cohen sought reimbursement of those expenses and Mr. Trump fully reimbursed Mr. Cohen in 2017. The category of value would be $100,001 — $250,000 and the interest rate would be zero.

    Except that amount doesn't compute with what Giuliani has said.

    The Daniels payment was $130,000, which would fall squarely in that "$100,001 — $250,000" range. But in a New York Times interview earlier this month, Giuliani said Trump paid Cohen about $460,000 or $470,000 in 2017, through a monthly retainer of $35,000. Giuliani said the amount included “incidental expenses” Cohen incurred on Trump's behalf.

    So why the difference? Perhaps only half or less of that $460,000 or $470,000 was technically reimbursement. Logic would suggest there were other things Cohen did to earn the retainer. Giuliani didn't necessarily present the entire sum as being a reimbursement — even as plenty of people inferred that.

    But that's still difficult to square with how Giuliani presented it in another interview. In his initial talk with Sean Hannity, Giuliani said Cohen had done no actual work for Trump during 2017.

    “When I heard Cohen's retainer of $35,000 — when he was doing no work for the president — I said that's how he's repaying it,” Giuliani told Hannity, “with a little profit and a little margin for paying taxes for Michael.”

    If Giuliani was right that Cohen didn't actually do work for Trump in 2017, the retainer would seem to be all about reimbursing Cohen for things that had already happened or for work that was already done. That's not really what a retainer is supposed to be, but that's how Giuliani presented it.

    Somebody also needs to ask Rudy Giuliani why he said Trump paid $460,000 to Cohen for the Stormy Daniels payment and possibly others. That statement does not match what Trump disclosed in the financial disclosure report that OGE released today.

    It would also seem possible Trump was paying Cohen extra because of the things he had to do for Trump in the Daniels situation. Maybe he got a couple hundred thousand dollars for his trouble? But again, that's not the way Giuliani presented it. He said there was “a little profit and a little margin for paying taxes.” It would be difficult to imagine $330,000 — the difference between $130,000 and $460,000 — constituting “a little profit and a little margin for paying taxes.”

    So basically, we don't know. Good thing Giuliani will be on Fox News on Wednesday night. Judging by his past performances, that should clear things right up.

    Next on www.washingtonpost.com

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