Tuesday was the deadline for Donald Trump to file a required ethics form called the “Executive Branch Personnel Public Financial Disclosure Report,” which includes a list of all personal liabilities in excess of $10,000.
That left him with the choice of either filing a second form that broke the law or admitting that he had broken the law the first time by omitting the debt. The form has now been released, and it shows that Trump followed the advice of ethics experts, and admitted the previous wrongdoing.
Norm Eisen, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute and a CNN commentator, explained how Trump admitted the truth of a complaint his organization filed.
In the form, Trump acknowledges that a government agency told him he had to disclose the money: “[Office of Government Ethics] has concluded that the information related to the payment made by Mr. Cohen is required to be reported and that the information provided meets the disclosure requirement for a reportable liability.”
But elsewhere in the form the Trump team argues against that conclusion.
“[W]hile not required to be disclosed as ‘reportable liabilities’ on Part 8, in 2016 expenses were incurred by one of Donald J. Trump’s attorneys, Michael Cohen. Mr. Cohen sought reimbursement of those expenses and Mr. Trump fully reimbursed Mr. Cohen in 2017.”