The former director of the Office of Government Ethics on Thursday said that revelations that President TrumpDonald TrumpJulian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy Overnight Energy & Environment — League of Conservation Voters — Climate summit chief says US needs to 'show progress' on environment Five takeaways from Arizona's audit results MORE reimbursed personal attorney Michael Cohen for a payment to adult-film star Stormy Daniels means the president has admitted to filing a false financial disclosure.
Walter ShaubWalter Michael ShaubThousands march on Washington in voting rights push White House defends plans for Hunter Biden art sale Hunter Biden artwork attracts ethics scrutiny: report MORE tweeted that “in trying to talk his way out of a campaign finance violation, Trump has admitted to filing a false financial disclosure in 2017.”
"He personally certified that his disclosure was ‘complete and correct,’” Shaub tweeted.
AMAZING! In trying to talk his way out of a campaign finance violation, Trump has admitted to filing a false financial disclosure in 2017. He personally certified that his disclosure was "complete and correct," subject to penalties at 18 U.S.C. § 1001 and 5 U.S.C. app. § 104. 1/ pic.twitter.com/FdDEsuRPaj— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) May 3, 2018
Shaub's tweet comes as Trump’s newest attorney, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R), admitted Wednesday that Trump reimbursed his lawyer Michael Cohen for a $130,000 hush money payment given to Daniels to cover an affair she claims she had with the president.
Giuliani said Trump set up a $35,000 payment schedule out of his personal family bank account to pay back Cohen through a law firm.
“It’s not campaign money. No campaign finance violation,” Giuliani said.
Cohen was paid between $460,000 and $470,000 from Trump through those payments, which also included money for “incidental expenses” incurred on Trump’s behalf.
Schaub said that admission means there was a $460,000 liability that was purposefully left off Trump's financial disclosure report.
But Tump and his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, now admit that he had a $460,000 liability that he omitted from his financial disclosure report. /2 pic.twitter.com/fA9mOHt7Rb— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) May 3, 2018
“I normally assume commissions are inadvertent,” Schaub tweeted. “However, given all of the deception about the Stormy Daniels payment, it is pretty hard to be believe this is not intentional.”
Cohen has long insisted that he paid Daniels out of his own pocket without discussing it with Trump.
“Take, for example, the way Trump’s people fooled Maggie Haberman regarding this payment,” Schaub said, referring to the New York Times reporter.
In a New York Times article in February Cohen specified that he was not reimbursed by the Trump Organization or the campaign for the payment.
I normally assume omissions are inadvertent. However, given all of the deception about the Stormy Daniels payment, it is pretty hard to believe this was not intentional. Take, for example, the way Trump's people fooled Maggie Haberman regarding this payment. /3 pic.twitter.com/tp2W11ST9j— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) May 3, 2018
The former ethics chief said that Trump’s attorneys “wanted him to be the first person in history to file a financial disclosure report without certifying that report as true.”
Schaub insisted in May 2017 that the ethics office would only work with Trump’s legal team if he signed off on the financial documents, according to a report from The Associated Press.
"This seems like as strong a circumstantial case for a violation as one is going to see," Schaub tweeted. "It is absolutely stunning that we've reached the point where the President of the United States appeared to have lied to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics about a payoff to a porn star."
This seems like as strong a circumstantial case for a violation as one is going to see. It is absolutely stunning that we've reached the point where the President of the United States appears to have lied to U.S. Office of Government Ethics about a payoff to a porn star. /end pic.twitter.com/wfi7pzRVr8— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) May 3, 2018
Trump defended the payment on Thursday in a set of early morning tweets, claiming the reimbursement was legal because it was a private contract between two parties.
The president said the Daniels agreement “was used to stop the false and extortionist accusations made by her about an affair,” adding that such arrangements “are very common among celebrities and people of wealth.”
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.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 3, 2018
...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,......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 3, 2018
...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.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 3, 2018
Shaub was not the only former ethics official to point to the possible false financial disclosure issue.