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In another dramatic twist, Stormy Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti claims the president's personal lawyer received half a million dollars from a Russian oligarch in the months following the 2016 presidential election. Avenatti also suggested that some of the funding might have been used to reimburse the hush money paid to his client.
“After significant investigation, we have discovered that Mr. Trump’s atty [Michael] Cohen received approximately $500,000 in the mos. after the election from a company controlled by a Russian Oligarch with close ties to Mr. Putin,” Aventatti tweeted Tuesday. “These monies may have reimbursed the $130k” Cohen paid to Daniels in exchange for her silence regarding an alleged sexual encounter with Trump in 2006.
According to Project Sunlight, a report compiled by Avenatti & Associates, Cohen received the $500,000 through eight payments between January and August 2017. The funds reportedly came from Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, who transferred the payments through a private equity firm helmed by his cousin Andrew Intrater. Avenatti claims Vekselberg and Intrater deposited the half a million dollars into the same bank account from which Cohen made the $130,000 payment to Daniels in late 2016.
“Mr. Cohen inexplicably accepted these payments while he was the personal attorney to the President and holding himself out at times as employed by the Trump Organization (with few other clients),” the report read. “This was occurring at the same time significant questions were being raised relating to (a) the involvement of Russia and Vladimir Putin in the 2016 Presidential Election and (b) the extent of the relationship between Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump.”
Sources told CNN that special counsel Robert Mueller has already questioned Vekselberg about the aforementioned payments as well as his relationship with Cohen. The outlet reports that the purpose of the $500,000 payment is still unclear.
You can read Avenatti’s full report here.
Daniels claims she had an affair with President Trump more than a decade ago, and was given $130,000 as part of a nondisclosure agreement. POTUS consistently denied having any knowledge about the payment; however, in a recent interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Rudy Giuliani, who joined Trump’s legal team last month, claimed Trump actually reimbursed Cohen for his payment to Daniels.
“That money was not campaign money, sorry. I'm giving you a fact now that you don't know. It's not campaign money. No campaign finance violation,” he said. “Funneled it through the law firm, and the President repaid him.”