Mr. Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen has been under heavy scrutiny ever since the FBI raided his home, office, and hotel room on April 9, 2018. Agents were especially looking for communication and documents between Cohen and pornographic film star Stormy Daniels, who had an affair with Trump shortly after his wife gave birth to their son.
Now, on Wednesday, another bombshell emerged regarding Cohen’s financial records. According to The New Yorker:
‘Last week, several news outlets obtained financial records showing that Michael Cohen, President Trump’s personal attorney, had used a shell company to receive payments from various firms with business before the Trump Administration. In the days since, there has been much speculation about who leaked the confidential documents, and the Treasury Department’s inspector general has launched a probe to find the source.’
The source has been identified as a law enforcement official who spoke publicly for the first time. The source reported being unable to find two important reports on Cohen’s financial activity in a government database, and became worried that the information was being withheld from law enforcement and made the decision to leak the confidential documents.
The New Yorker reported:
‘The payments to Cohen that have emerged in the past week come primarily from a single document, a “suspicious-activity report” filed by First Republic Bank, where Cohen’s shell company, Essential Consultants, L.L.C., maintained an account. The document detailed sums in the hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to Cohen by the pharmaceutical company Novartis, the telecommunications giant A.T. & T., and an investment firm with ties to the Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg.’
The report also documents two previous suspicious-activity reports that the bank had filed. The SARs documented even larger flows of questionable money into Cohen’s account. According to The New Yorker:
‘Those two reports detail more than three million dollars in additional transactions—triple the amount in the report released last week.’
The law enforcement official said:
‘I have never seen something pulled off the system…That system is a safeguard for the bank. It’s a stockpile of information. When something’s not there that should be, I immediately became concerned.
‘That’s why I came forward.’
It is alarming to former government officials and those familiar with the Treasury Department’s FINCEN database that those were the only two reports deemed missing. The New Yorker reported:
‘Some speculated that fincen may have restricted access to the reports due to the sensitivity of their content, which they said would be nearly unprecedented. One called the possibility “explosive.” A record-retention policy on fincen’s Web site notes that false documents or those “deemed highly sensitive” and “requiring strict limitations on access” may be transferred out of its master file.’
What is more perplexing is that a former prosecutor who spent years working with the FINCEN database since she did not even know of a way to restrict access to suspicious-activity reports or SARs.
Last week, an investigation was launched by The Treasury Department to determine the identity of the source. The official said:
‘To say that I am terrified right now would be an understatement.’
Cohen’s shell company, Essential Consultants, is the same company that paid $130,000 to Stormy Daniels.
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