President Donald Trump – already implicated in campaign finance Stormy Daniels – likely to commit other crimes by failing to disclose that payoff in his / her sworn financial disclosure last year, according to government ethics experts.
Michael Cohen's guilty plea from earlier this year, which implicated trump in committing campaign finances by authorizing Cohen to pay Daniels $ 130,000 shortly before the 2016 election with the president over a decade ago.
However, the report also reveals the details of Trump's involvement in a lawyer's lawsuit his 2017 financial disclosure form.
"If we had as much evidence as we can now and Trump was the assistant secretary for some program at the Department of Commerce, he would be prosecuted and go to jail," Walter Shaub, the government ethics czar under the Obama administration, told The New York Daily News. "At the very least, he would have to be fined, fired, lost his security clearance and never be allowed to work in public service again."
Shortly after Trump's election, Cohen met with Weisselberg to discuss reimbursing Cohen for the payment he made to Daniels, according to the Journal.
At Trump's direction, Weisselberg then reportedly prepared a reimbursement plan in which Cohen would have paid in installments of $ 35,000, which were docked at Trump's financial records as legal fees.
Trump's financial disclosure filed in court in June 2017 did not pay that debt to Cohen, which became a topic of great intrigue after the Daniels saga was reported in numerous media outlets.
At the time, Shaub's organization, Washington, has filed a criminal complaint with the Justice Department alleging Trump had deliberately left out the Daniels payment from his disclosure filings – a crime that could result in five years of imprisonment.
However, CREW's complaint lacked one crucial detail: evidence that Trump had willfully omitted the debt from the disclosure form.
The Journal's Friday report, which was based on three dozen interviews, corporate records, court papers and other documents, fills in that missing piece, according to Shaub.
"The report shows Trump's bookkeeping that in Coordin's Reimbursement as Legal Fees. "That means the omission becomes a deliberate act and that's a crime."
Despite the extensive sourcing, Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer in the Russia investigation, blasted the Journal's report as "unsourced speculation" in a text message to the Daily News. He would not comment further.
Shaub said he hopes the latest development prompts the Justice Department to launch an investigation based on his group's initial complaint.
"If they do not, this is just another example of how this president is above the law," Shaub said.
A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.