Cohen, who has worked for Trump in various capacities since 2007, sent X-rated actress Stormy Daniels the substantial hush payment via a First Republic Bank account 12 days before the 2016 presidential election, a person familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal on Monday.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked about the payment for the first time publicly at Monday's press briefing, as a reporter used Daniels' real name, Stephanie Clifford, to address the issue.
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Cohen last month said he used his own money to facilitate the private payment-in exchange for Daniels signing an agreement that she wouldn't discuss the alleged encounter-and that neither the Trump campaign nor the Trump Organization paid him back. Cohen reportedly blew two deadlines to reach an agreement with Daniels because he had trouble getting in touch with Trump to secure the funds. A year later, the receiving bank looked into the money transfer as well. In response to the latest report, Cohen simply replied to the News Corp-owned Wall Street Journal with two words: "Fake News".
Neither Cohen's bank nor Clifford's lawyer's bank commented to The Wall Street Journal.
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Previously, Cohen and White House representatives have denied Trump and Daniels had sexual relations. It isn't clear when First Republic reported it to the government as suspicious. 'I'd refer you to Michael on that, ' she added, passing the ball back to Cohen. The Common Cause complaint asserts that if the payment to Clifford had been made to influence the election, it would be an undisclosed "in-kind" contribution to the campaign, and if not from Trump personally, it would violate not only the disclosure rules but also the donation limit.
That Post report also said Clifford's attorney Keith Davidson was contacted by City National Bank in Beverly Hills, the bank Davidson used to receive Cohen's payment, nearly a full year after the payment.
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'As a matter of policy, we don't confirm or comment on inquiries from regulatory agencies or law enforcement, including subpoenas, ' City National told the Journal.