REPORT: Cohen to publicly testify before Congress next month

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, will testify publicly before a House committee next month in a hearing that could serve as the opening salvo in a promised Democratic effort to greater scrutinize Trump, his conflicts of interest and his ties to Russia.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee announced Thursday that Cohen will testify before that panel Feb. 7, a little more than a month after the Democrats took the House majority.

The hearing marks the latest step in Cohen’s transformation from a trusted legal adviser to the president to a public antagonist who has cooperated extensively against him. It is likely to pull back the curtain on key episodes involving Trump’s personal life and business dealings, including hush-money payments to women and a proposed Moscow real estate deal, that federal prosecutors have been dissecting for months.

Cohen is a pivotal figure in investigations by special counsel Robert Mueller into potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign and by federal prosecutors in New York into campaign finance violations related to payments during the campaign to a porn actress and former Playboy Playmate who say they had sex with Trump. Federal prosecutors have said Trump directed those payments.

Cohen has pleaded guilty in both investigations and was sentenced last month to three years in prison. An adviser to Cohen, Lanny Davis, said shortly after he was sentenced that the former political fixer wanted to testify and “state publicly all he knows.”

In a statement released on Thursday, Cohen said he had accepted the invitation “in furtherance of my commitment to cooperate and provide the American people with answers.”

Cohen added: “I look forward to having the privilege of being afforded a platform with which to give a full and credible account of the events which have transpired.”

Trump has denied wrongdoing and sought to minimize Cohen’s statements by painting him as a liar. Asked by reporters Thursday about Cohen’s appearance, Trump said he’s “not worried about it at all.”

Cohen acknowledged in the Mueller investigation that he lied to Congress by saying negotiations over a Trump Tower in Moscow had ended in January 2016 when he actually pursued the project into that June, well into Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. In New York, he acknowledged his involvement in hush-money payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

The chairman of the Oversight panel, Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, said in a statement that Cohen is testifying voluntarily.

“I want to make clear that we have no interest in inappropriately interfering with any ongoing criminal investigations, and to that end, we are in the process of consulting with special counsel Mueller’s office,” Cummings said. “The committee will announce additional information in the coming weeks.”

The Oversight hearing may not be Cohen’s only appearance. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said he welcomes Cohen’s testimony before the Oversight panel, but “it will be necessary, however, for Mr. Cohen to answer questions pertaining to the Russia investigation, and we hope to schedule a closed session before our committee in the near future.”

Cohen testified before the House intelligence panel in 2017, before his role in the federal investigations was fully known and when Republicans controlled the panel. The GOP-led committee later ended its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, saying there was no evidence of collusion or conspiracy between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

Schiff wants to restart parts of that probe.

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Associated Press writer Darlene Superville in Washington contributed to the contents of this report.

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‘OVER MY DEAD BODY’: Giuliani says there’s ‘no way’ he would allow a Trump sit down with Mueller

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani says there is “no way” that he would permit his client to sit down one-on-one with Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the wake of bombshell revelations regarding former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

In an interview with “Fox News Sunday” Giuliani said he would not allow his client to be “railroaded” and “framed” the way he now believes Flynn was.

“What they did to General Flynn should result in discipline,” Giuliani said. “They’re the ones who are violating the law. They’re looking at a non-crime: collusion. The other guys are looking at a non-crime: campaign violation, which are not violations, and they are the ones who are violating the law, the rules, the ethics, nobody wants to look at them. They destroyed Strzok and Page’s 19,000 texts. If he destroyed texts, they would put him in jail, even though they can’t because he’s the president.”

In an often heated series of exchanges with Fox News host Chris Wallace, Giuliani doubled down on his claim that Trump initially “didn’t know about” hush-money paid to two women by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen which prosecutors claim amounted to campaign finance violations.

“Yes, this man is lying — is that a surprise to you, that Michael Cohen is lying?” Giuliani asked. “The man got up in front of a judge and said, ‘I was fiercely loyal to Donald Trump.’ Nonsense. He wasn’t fiercely loyal to him, he taped him. He sat there with [CNN anchor] Chris Cuomo, told him he wasn’t being taped, showed him a drawer and he lied to him and taped him for two hours.”

Asked whether President Trump — who has already provided written responses to inquiries from Mueller — would be willing to meet with Special Counsel, Giuliani responded, “Yeah, good luck, good luck — after what they did to Flynn, the way they trapped him into perjury, and no sentence for him.”

“Over my dead body,” Giuliani added. “But, you know, I could be dead.”

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‘DIRTY DEEDS’: Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen sentenced 3 Years in prison

NEW YORK: Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen was sentenced to 3 years in prison Wednesday by a federal court judge.

An emotional Cohen, 52, lowered his head as U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III sentenced him to charges relating to lying about Trump’s business dealings with Russia and funneling hush money to two women who claimed to have had a sexual relationship with the president.

Visibly fighting back tears, Cohen told the court that he accepted“full responsibility” for his actions — yet laid much of the blame on the boss he once said he would “die” for.

“I have been living in a personal and mental incarceration ever since the day that I accepted the offer to work for a real estate mogul whose business acumen that I deeply admired,” Cohen told the judge. “It was my own weakness and a blind loyalty to this man that led me to choose a path of darkness over light.”

“Time and time again, I thought it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds rather than listen to my voice,” he added.

In his sentencing order Pauley said Cohen deserved some credit for his decision to admit guilt and cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Muller’s federal investigation of efforts by Russians to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. However, said Pauley, Cohen’s doing so did not “wipe the slate clean.”

“Somewhere along the way Mr. Cohen appears to have lost his moral compass,” the judge said. “As a lawyer, Mr. Cohen should have known better.”

The court also ordered Cohen to pay $1.39 million restitution, forfeit $500,000 and pay $100,000 in fines.

After Cohen’s sentencing, the U.S. Attorney’s office in New York revealed it had structured a non-prosecution agreement with National Enquirer publisher AMI earlier this year for its $150,000 payout to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, one of the Trump’s alleged mistresses.

“As a part of the agreement, AMI admitted that it made the $150,000 payment in concert with a candidate’s presidential campaign, and in order to ensure that the woman did not publicize damaging allegations about the candidate before the 2016 presidential election,” the attorney’s office said. “AMI further admitted that its principal purpose in making the payment was to suppress the woman’s story so as to prevent it from influencing the election.”

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‘LOCK HIM UP’: Dems raise prospect of impeachment, jail for Trump in wake of ‘hush money’ allegations

WASHINGTON (AP) — Top House Democrats have raised the prospect of impeachment or the real possibility of prison time for President Donald Trump if it’s proved that he directed illegal hush money payments to women, adding to the legal pressure on the president over the Russia investigation and other scandals.

“There’s a very real prospect that on the day Donald Trump leaves office, the Justice Department may indict him, that he may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, the incoming chairman of the House intelligence committee. “The bigger pardon question may come down the road as the next president has to determine whether to pardon Donald Trump.”

Rep. Jerry Nadler, the incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, described the details in prosecutors’ filings Friday in the case of Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, as evidence that Trump was “at the center of a massive fraud.”

“They would be impeachable offenses,” Nadler said.

In the filings, prosecutors in New York for the first time link Trump to a federal crime of illegal payments to buy the silence of two women during the 2016 campaign. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office also laid out previously undisclosed contacts between Trump associates and Russian intermediaries and suggested the Kremlin aimed early on to influence Trump and his Republican campaign by playing to both his political and personal business interests.

Trump has denied wrongdoing and has compared the investigations to a “witch hunt.”

Nadler, D-N.Y., said it was too early to say whether Congress would pursue impeachment proceedings based on the illegal payments alone because lawmakers would need to weigh the gravity of the offense to justify “overturning” the 2016 election. Nadler and other lawmakers said Sunday they would await additional details from Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference and possible coordination with the Trump campaign to determine the extent of Trump’s misconduct.

Regarding the illegal payments, “whether they are important enough to justify an impeachment is a different question, but certainly they’d be impeachable offenses because even though they were committed before the president became president, they were committed in the service of fraudulently obtaining the office,” Nadler said.

Mueller has not said when he will complete a report of any findings, and it isn’t clear that any such report would be made available to Congress. That would be up to the attorney general. Trump on Friday said he would nominate former Attorney General William Barr to the post to succeed Jeff Sessions.

Nadler indicated that Democrats, who will control the House in January, will step up their own investigations. He said Congress, the Justice Department and the special counsel need to dig deeper into the allegations, which include questions about whether Trump lied about his business arrangements with Russians and about possible obstruction of justice.

“The new Congress will not try to shield the president,” he said. “We will try to get to the bottom of this, in order to serve the American people and to stop this massive conspiracy — this massive fraud on the American people.”

Schiff, D-Calif., also stressed a need to wait “until we see the full picture.” He has previously indicated his panel would seek to look into the Trump family’s business ties with Russia.

“I think we also need to see this as a part of a broader pattern of potential misconduct by the president, and it’s that broad pattern, I think, that will lead us to a conclusion about whether it rises to the level to warrant removal from office,” Schiff said.

In the legal filings, the Justice Department stopped short of accusing Trump of directly committing a crime. But it said Trump told Cohen to make illegal payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, both of whom claimed to have had affairs with Trump more than a decade ago.

In separate filings, Mueller’s team detail how Cohen spoke to a Russian who “claimed to be a ‘trusted person’ in the Russian Federation who could offer the campaign ‘political synergy’ and ‘synergy on a government level.’” Cohen said he never followed up on that meeting. Mueller’s team also said former campaign chairman Paul Manafort lied to them about his contacts with a Russian associate and Trump administration officials, including in 2018.

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida called the latest filings “relevant” in judging Trump’s fitness for office but said lawmakers need more information to render judgment. He also warned the White House about considering a pardon for Manafort, saying such a step could trigger congressional debate about limiting a president’s pardon powers.

Such a move would be “a terrible mistake,” Rubio said. “Pardons should be used judiciously. They’re used for cases with extraordinary circumstances.”

Sen. Angus King, an independent from Maine and a member of the Senate intelligence committee, cautioned against a rush to impeachment, which he said citizens could interpret as “political revenge and a coup against the president.”

“The best way to solve a problem like this, to me, is elections,” King said. “I’m a conservative when it comes to impeachment. I think it’s a last resort and only when the evidence is clear of a really substantial legal violation. We may get there, but we’re not there now.”

Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut urged Mueller to “show his cards soon” so that Congress can make a determination early next year on whether to act on impeachment.

“Let’s be clear: We have reached a new level in the investigation,” Murphy said. “It’s important for Congress to get all of the underlying facts and data and evidence that the special counsel has.”

Nadler spoke on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, Rubio was on CNN and ABC’s “This Week,” and Schiff appeared on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” Murphy spoke on ABC, and King was on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

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Hope Yen of the Associated Press contributed to the contents of this report.

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‘A TOTAL DISGRACE!’; Trump ramps up attacks on Mueller in wake of Cohen sentencing

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Monday unleashed a bevy of attacks against special counsel Robert Mueller in the wake of former Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s sentencing last Friday.

“Did you ever see an investigation more in search of a crime?,” the president tweeted Monday morning. “At the same time Mueller and the Angry Democrats aren’t even looking at the atrocious, and perhaps subversive, crimes that were committed by Crooked Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. A total disgrace!”

In a subsequent tweet, the president angrily asked when the ongoing attacks on he and the members of his administration will come to an end.

“When will this illegal Joseph McCarthy style Witch Hunt, one that has shattered so many innocent lives, ever end-or will it just go on forever?,” Trump asked. “After wasting more than $40,000,000 (is that possible?), it has proven only one thing-there was NO Collusion with Russia. So Ridiculous!”

The president’s tweets followed Mueller’s assertion in a court filing that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort intentionally violated his plea agreement. In the document, Mueller alleged that Manafort “committed federal crimes by lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Special Counsel’s Office on a variety of subject matters, which constitute breaches of the agreement.”

On Sunday President Trump also took to Twitter to rant against former FBI Director James Comey, who he accused of lying to House lawmakers about the investigation into alleged Russian during the 2016 presidential election.

“Leakin’ James Comey must have set a record for who lied the most to Congress in one day. His Friday testimony was so untruthful” the president tweeted. “This whole deal is a Rigged Fraud headed up by dishonest people who would do anything so that I could not become President. They are now exposed!”

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MCCARTHY: Feds will indict Trump on campaign finance charges

WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors will attempt to indict President Donald Trump on campaign finance charges, former Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew McCarthy now says.

In an opinion piece written for Fox News the conservative former prosecutor said federal prosecutors would not have gone after Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, had they not intended to slap the president with charges relating to “hush money” he allegedly paid to two women to keep quiet regarding affairs he had with them prior to becoming president.

“The major takeaway from the 40-page sentencing memorandum filed by federal prosecutors Friday for Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former personal attorney, is this: The president is very likely to be indicted on a charge of violating federal campaign finance laws,” McCarthy wrote. “It has been obvious for some time that President Trump is the principal subject of the investigation still being conducted by the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.”

“Yes, Cohen has stated he did the hands-on work in orchestrating hush-money payments to two women who claim to have had sexual liaisons with Trump many years ago (liaisons Trump denies),” McCarthy continued. “But when Cohen pleaded guilty in August, prosecutors induced him to make an extraordinary statement in open court: the payments to the women were made “in coordination with and at the direction of” the candidate for federal office – Donald Trump.”

“Prosecutors would not have done this if the president was not on their radar screen. Indeed, if the president was not implicated, I suspect they would not have prosecuted Cohen for campaign finance violations at all,” McCarthy surmised.

Trump’s current lawyer, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, who also once served as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, denied Monday that the president is any current legal danger.

“You have to believe Cohen. Who believes Cohen?” Giuliani asked, pointing out Cohen’s prior conviction on lying to the FBI.

While McCarthy acknowledged Trump has a strong legal defense, he pointed out that prosecutors will utilize certain facts to justify charges.

“Trump’s point that he had no personal limit on spending is also undermined by the facts that (a) the payment was not reported,” McCarthy argued, “and (b) the purpose of the transaction was to distance him from the payment (which is why the non-disclosure agreement employs pseudonyms rather than referring to Trump and Clifford by name).”

Like Giuliani, McCarthy also once served as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, the same office currently investigating the president on alleged campaign finance violations.

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‘WACKY OMAROSA’: Trump lashes out at fired former staffer over ‘racist’ allegations

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump on Monday unleashed his rage against Omarosa Manigault, a former White House political aid who recently launched a slew of accusations against Trump and his staff.

“Wacky Omarosa, who got fired 3 times on the Apprentice, now got fired for the last time,” he wrote on Twitter. “She never made it, never will. She begged me for a job, tears in her eyes, I said Ok. People in the White House hated her. She was vicious, but not smart.”

“I would rarely see her but heard really bad things,” the president wrote in a follow-up tweet. “Nasty to people & would constantly miss meetings & work. When Gen. Kelly came on board he told me she was a loser & nothing but problems. I told him to try working it out, if possible, because she only said GREAT things about me – until she got fired!”

“While I know it’s “not presidential” to take on a lowlife like Omarosa, and while I would rather not be doing so, this is a modern day form of communication and I know the Fake News Media will be working overtime to make even Wacky Omarosa look legitimate as possible,” Trump continued. “Sorry!”

The president’s attack follows Manigault’s recent press releases while promoting a new book about her time at the White House, “Unhinged: An Insider Account of the Trump White House” in which she claims to have secretly recorded the president and high ranking members of his staff. In a series of interviews, the former reality TV star claims that she has heard other recordings of the president, recorded without his knowledge, in which he refers to African-Americans in derogatory terms. She also claims that she once witnessed the president chew and swallow a piece of paper passed to him by his attorney at the time, Michael Cohen, that contained sensitive information.

In response to Manigault’s claims, a number of high profile people mentioned in her book have come forward to not only deny her allegations but refute them.

“I’m in @Omarosa’s book on page 149,” political pollster Frank Lutz wrote on Twitter. “She claims to have heard from someone who heard from me that I heard Trump use the N-word. Not only is this flat-out false (I’ve never heard such a thing), but Omarosa didn’t even make an effort to call or email me to verify. Very shoddy work.”

Cohen, also took to Twitter to refute Omarosa’s claims.

“LTo the many dozens of #journalists who called me, questioning @OMAROSA claim in her new book that @POTUS @realDonaldTrump took a note from me, put it in his mouth and ate it,” Cohen wrote. “I saw NO such thing and am shocked anyone would take this seriously.”

In a recently released recording, Manigault can be heard talking to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly as he tells her that her services were being terminated due to “serious ethical violations”.

Manigault was reportedly so angered by the termination that she had to be escorted off White House property White House security, a claim that she continues to deny.

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COHEN FLIPPED? Trump lawyer cooperating with Mueller investigation as legal team bails, says report

New York, N.Y. (ABC News) — Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime confidant and former personal attorney, is likely to cooperate with federal investigators, as his lawyers are expected to leave the case, ABC News reported Wednesday.

To date, Cohen has been represented by Stephen Ryan and Todd Harrison of the Washington and New York firm, McDermott, Will & Emery LLP, but a source representing this matter has disclosed to ABC News that they are not expected to represent him going forward. Ryan declined to comment.

A source familiar with the matter tells ABC News that among the reasons for Cohen’s change in counsel is a fee dispute.

No replacement counsel has been identified as of this time.

Cohen, who has been under criminal investigation for months, which is separate from the special counsel case, has been rushing to meet U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Kimba Wood’s Friday deadline to complete a privilege review of over 3.7 million documents seized in the April 9 raids of Cohen’s New York properties and law office.

Representatives from the Southern District of New York declined to comment.

Cohen, who is under federal investigation now with no legal representation, is likely to cooperate with federal prosecutors in Manhattan, sources said. This development, which is believed to be imminent, will likely hit the White House, family members, staffers and counsels hard.

Two sources who are familiar with a warrant in the case told ABC News in April that federal agents were hunting for records tied to Cohen’s personal business dealings and secret deals with Trump’s alleged mistresses, media organizations and the 2016 presidential campaign.

Cohen’s attorney at the time of the raids released a terse statement shortly after the April raids arguing that the seized documents included “the unnecessary seizure of protected attorney-client communications between a lawyer and his clients.”

“These government tactics are also wrong because Mr. Cohen has cooperated completely with all government entities,” Stephen Ryan said.

Two days after the raids, Cohen told ABC News: “I just want my stuff back.”

President Trump also lashed out in a tweet, writing, “Attorney-client privilege is dead!”

He told reporters at the White House that the move against his longtime personal attorney, which he likened to a break-in, was a “disgraceful situation.”

“It’s an attack on our country in a true sense. It’s an attack on all we stand for,” the president said during a meeting with senior military leadership at the White House. “That is really now on a whole new level of unfairness.”

Cohen then went to federal court in Manhattan arguing that his attorneys should be given a first look at the materials seized in the raids for items potentially covered by attorney-client privilege before federal prosecutors could examine the haul.

Judge Wood subsequently appointed former federal judge Barbara Jones to act as a “special master” to conduct an impartial review of the materials and to referee any disputes between Cohen and the government.

Trump and the Trump Organization intervened in the case and were also granted access to review the materials for potentially privileged items.

Jones reported last week that of the first 300,000 items reviewed, she had determined that just 162 of them were covered by attorney-client privilege. She rejected three items that Cohen, Trump or the Trump organization had designated as privileged.

Judge Wood has given Cohen’s attorneys until Friday to complete the review of the remaining documents. Any remaining items to be reviewed would be turned over to a team of federal prosecutors unconnected to the case to complete the examination of the documents.

ABC News’ James Hill, John Santucci, Katherine Faulders and Kyra Phillips contributed to this report.

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REPORT: Trump attorney Michael Cohen expects to be arrested ‘soon’

Washington, D.C. (New York Daily News) — Michael Cohen thinks he might soon swap his pinstripes for jail stripes.

The longtime attorney and personal fixer to President Trump expects to be put in cuffs any day now, possibly opening up his top client to legal complications, a person familiar with the matter said Tuesday.

Cohen has been telling friends he fears his arrest is imminent, the source told the Daily News. Cohen remains under federal investigation for bank fraud and campaign finance violations, potential offenses that resulted in FBI raids at his Manhattan home, hotel room and office in April.

Cohen, 51, did not immediately return a request for comment.

Federal agents stormed into Cohen’s domiciles on April 9 and seized a cache of records, including communications between him and Trump, according to court papers.

A former White House official said Trump is likely concerned about the prospect of Cohen in cuffs.

“Trump should be super worried about Michael Cohen,” the ex-official told Vanity Fair, which first reported Cohen’s fears of a potential arrest. “If anyone can blow up Trump, it’s him.”

Cohen has worked for Trump in various capacities since 2011. Cohen’s aggressive legal tactics and tough-talking demeanor resulted in his being nicknamed Trump’s “bulldog.”

He has been making damning headlines ever since it was revealed in January that he brokered a hush agreement between Trump and porn star Stormy Daniels.

Daniels, 39, accepted $130,000 from Cohen in exchange for signing the contract, which bars her from speaking publicly about allegedly having sex with Trump in 2006.

Michael Avenatti, who represents Daniels in a lawsuit seeking to void the hush agreement, said news of Cohen’s imminent arrest confirms his predictions.

“It looks like once again I’m about to be proven right,” Avenatti told The News Tuesday afternoon, noting he said last month that Cohen would be indicted within 90 days. “He’s going to be charged with a number of crimes.”

Cohen’s potential arrest comes at a precarious time for Trump.

Special counsel Robert Mueller continues to investigate allegations of collusion between the President’s campaign and Russia, and earlier produced federal indictments against four Trump associates.

Cohen has also landed on Mueller’s radar.

Multiple companies with business before the federal government pumped millions of dollars into Cohen’s shadowy consulting firm, Essential Consultants, shortly after Trump’s election. One of the companies was Columbus Nova, a Manhattan-based investment firm whose primary client is Viktor Vekselberg, a sanctioned Russian oligarch who has reportedly been interviewed by Mueller’s investigators.

Trump wouldn’t rule out pardoning Cohen when asked about his scandals last week.

“I haven’t even thought about it,” the President told reporters at the White House. “I haven’t thought about any of it. It’s certainly far too early to be thinking about that.”

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BREAKING: US Treasury Department opens investigation into Stormy Daniels lawyer over bank records leak

Washington, D.C. (The Hill) — The Treasury Department’s inspector general is investigating how Stormy Daniels’s lawyer Michael Avenatti obtained confidential banking records concerning a company controlled by President Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

The inspector general’s counsel, Rich Delmar, said that the office is looking into allegations that Suspicious Activity Reports filed about Cohen’s banking transactions were “improperly disseminated,” according to the Post.

Avenatti on Tuesday went public with detailed claims about Cohen’s banking history, including allegations that he received $500,000 from a company controlled by a Russian oligarch in the months following the 2016 presidential election.

The payment was, according to Avenatti, deposited in an account for a company that was also used to pay Daniels $130,000 as part of her non-disclosure agreement weeks before the 2016 vote.

Avenatti also revealed that AT&T, the Swiss drug company Novartis, and aircraft manufacturer Korea Aerospace Industries — all of which had business considerations with the federal government — had made payments to Cohen. The companies later confirmed the payments, which are under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Avenatti refused to reveal his source for this information and said investigators should reveal the Suspicious Activity Reports filed on Cohen’s account.

Such reports are filed if an unusual transaction of over $10,000 is made, and experts told the Post that Avenatti’s information could have come from a report filed by Cohen’s bank.

Banks often file such reports to detect for money laundering or other illegal behavior.

Cohen’s bank, First Republic, declined the Post’s request for comment.

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