Rudy Giuliani, who was recently hired as one of President Donald Trump’s lawyers, may have jeopardized his new boss by revealing the existence of large debts to Trump’s longtime attorney Michael Cohen.
The former mayor of New York City was retained to join Trump’s defense team in the ongoing Robert Mueller investigation into possible collusion with the Russians.
In an interview with NBC News, Giuliani claimed Trump wasn’t aware of Stormy Daniels when he repaid $130,000 to Cohen after the consigliere made a hush money payment to the porn star in the days before the 2016 election.
Giuliani acknowledged that Trump owed Cohen $250,000 – including the $130,000 payment – but that Trump wasn’t aware where the $130,000 was going.
“I don’t think the president realized he paid [Cohen] back for that specific thing until we made him aware of the paperwork,” Giuliani told NBC.
Giuliani’s comments led The Washington Post to file an ethics complaint with the Department of Justice and the Office of Government Ethics on Thursday.
The paper claims Giuliani’s comments “left the president exposed to possible liability for campaign finance, ethics and false statements violations.”
The Ethics in Government Act requires the president to disclose any financial liabilities worth more than $10,000.
Trump’s financial disclosure report last summer did not include any debts to Cohen.
Knowingly failing to disclose debts over $10,000 could constitute a federal crime and result in penalties up to $50,000.
This is likely the reason why Mueller urged the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York to sign warrants to raid Cohen’s office last month.
Trump routinely tweets that Mueller and the Democrats are engaged in a political witch hunt. Trump’s supporters say the Democrats will stop at nothing until they find cause to impeach the duly elected president.