AP NEWS

Elijah Cummings, House Dems say Trump attorneys lied about hush payments

February 16, 2019

Rep. Elijah Cummings on Friday said lawmakers on the House Oversight and Reform Committee believe President Trump’s lawyers may have given false information about hush payments made to two women during the 2016 election.

Mr. Cummings, Maryland Democrat, who chairs the committee, said a review of new documents from the Office of Government Ethics suggest two Trump lawyers his personal attorney Sheri Dillon and White House lawyer Stefan Passantino gave false information about the payments.

“It now appears that President Trump’s others attorneys at the White House and in private practice may have provided false information about these payments to federal officials,” Mr. Cummings wrote in a letter to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone.

The payments were made to former Playboy model Karen McDougal and adult film star Stormy Daniels, both of whom had alleged affairs with Mr. Trump before he became president. Mr. Trump has denied the affairs but said he was aware of the payments.

The president’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, admitted in federal court to facilitating the hush payments at the direction of then-candidate Trump.

Mr. Cummings said Ms. Dillion “repeatedly stated to federal officers at OGE that President Trump never owed any money to Cohen in 2016 and 2017.” The chairman also claimed Mr. Passantino misled officials when he said Mr. Trump had a retainer agreement with Cohen.

Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations for his role in the hush payments. He begins a three-year jail sentence next month for that and other crimes.

In a separate letter to Alan Futerfas, an attorney for the Trump Organization and Donald Trump Jr., Mr. Cummings said the Trump Organization has not complied with the committee’s request for several documents. Mr. Futerfas had declined the request because they were already in the hands of federal authorities investigating the business.

“Congress takes great care not to impair the outcome of criminal cases while exercising its own constitutional authority to conduct robust oversight,” Mr. Cummings said.