Cohen told The New York Times last month that he paid Stephanie Clifford (a.k.a. Stormy Daniels) $130,000 in 2016. At the time, he insisted that the money was his own but did not explain what the payment was for.
Now The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Cohen griped shortly after the election that he hadn’t been reimbursed by Trump for making payouts to Clifford.
Cohen responded to the report by sending a two-word email to the Journal: “Fake News.”
According to the newspaper, First Republic Bank, the financial institution Cohen used to wire the money to Clifford, flagged the transaction as suspicious and reported it to the Treasury Department.
The payment came from Essential Consultants LLC, a private Delaware company Cohen established a few weeks before the 2016 election for the sole purpose of paying Clifford using a bank account linked to the entity to send the payment to an account belonging to a lawyer representing Clifford, according to the Journal.
The money arrived on Oct. 27, 2016, 12 days before the presidential election, but it’s not clear when First Republic first reported the transaction as suspicious.
Cohen almost didn’t make the payment at all. He said he missed two deadlines earlier that month because he couldn’t reach Mr. Trump in the final days of the campaign, the Journal reported.
Both First Republic and the Treasury Department declined to comment to the paper.
Meanwhile, Clifford says that Cohen’s admission he paid her breached their agreement, so she is free to discuss any relationship she’s had with Trump.