News & Politics

Trump Faces a Major Deadline in the Stormy Daniels Case—And All of His Options Look Really Bad

Trump is supposed to file a financial disclosure form Tuesday. There are just a few problems with that.

Photo Credit: © Glenn Francis, www.PacificProDigital.com

On Tuesday, May 15, President Donald Trump is required to file his official personal financial disclosure form with the Federal Election Commission. And according to Adav Noti, the senior director for the Campaign Legal Center, this deadline will force Trump to make a decision on the Stormy Daniels case about which he has no good options.

Noti, who wrote an op-ed about the issue with former Director of the Office of Government Ethics Walter Shaub, explained what's going on to CNN's Anderson Cooper Monday night.

The central problem revolves around Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen's hush money payment to Stephanie Clifford, better known as porn star Stormy Daniels, who says she had an affair with the president in 2006. Cohen said he paid Clifford $130,000 to keep quiet in October 2016, and Rudy Giuliani has since said that Trump reimbursed Cohen for this payment over a series of months.

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The financial disclosure form "needs to list all of the debts that [Trump] owed during 2017, all the personal debts, and that would appear to include the $130,000 he needed to repay to Mr. Cohen for the hush money to Stormy Daniels," Noti said. "The problem is if he discloses that on his filing tomorrow, it's going to essentially be an admission that he didn't disclose it in the prior year's financial disclosure report. And the problem with that is that intentionally leaving something off a financial disclosure report is a violation of federal law."

Noti continued: "The one exception that he might try to invoke here is that he wouldn't be required to disclose the debt if instead of personal debt, it were a campaign debt. The problem with that is that if it was a campaign debt, the Trump campaign needed to report it to the Federal Election Commission on those reports, and they didn't do that either. And just as it's a violation of law to not report a personal debt, it's also a violation of law to not report a campaign contribution of this kind."

Any other personal debts previously unrevealed could also come up. Trump may be able to forestall some of these problems by filing to extend the deadline for the report, but that can only hold the issue off for so long.

Watch the clip below:

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Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.