Mar 5, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Trump sent Cohen checks during official business: Report

President Trump's lawyers declined to comment on The New York Times' check allegations.

Photo: Oliver Contreras-Pool/Getty Images

President Trump sent Michael Cohen payments while on official business, according to The New York Times, which published in the article accompanying images Tuesday of checks for $35,000.

The big picture: Cohen produced a $35,000 check during Congressional testimony he alleged was evidence of an installment of illegal hush money Trump reimbursed to him during his presidency for hush money to Stormy Daniels.

What they're saying: "The dates on the newly available checks shed light on the parallel lives Mr. Trump was living by this account — at once managing affairs of state while quietly paying the price of keeping his personal secrets out of the public eye," the Times says in its report.

Details: The Times cites 11 occasions it alleges Trump or his trust sent checks. The paper said it was sent six of these checks this week.

Biggest anecdote:

The president hosted a foreign leader in the Oval Office, then wrote a check. He haggled over legislation, then wrote a check. He traveled abroad, then wrote a check. On the same day he reportedly pressured the F.B.I. director to drop an investigation into a former aide, the president’s trust issued a check to Mr. Cohen in furtherance of what federal prosecutors have called a criminal scheme to violate campaign finance laws at the direction of Mr. Trump.

The other side: Trump's defenders told the Times the checks proved only that the president had paid his personal lawyer; they did not prove he'd reimbursed Cohen for hush money paid to Stormy Daniels to conceal their alleged affair. Trump denies he had the affair and has accused Cohen of lying to reduce prison time following his conviction on charges relating to campaign finance violations, tax evasion and lying to Congress. The president claims the manuscript of Cohen's unpublished book discredits his former fixer's testimony.

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