Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen pleaded guilty last year to violating campaign finance laws in connection with his “hush money” payoffs to adult film star Stormy Daniels. He claims that Trump himself — identified in court documents as “Individual 1” — ordered him to commit those crimes. But for the first time, in sworn testimony on Wednesday morning, Cohen named Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., as taking part in the cover-up as well, according to a report by The Guardian.
Trump Jr. signed one of the checks used to reimburse Cohen for the $130,000 hush money payment to Daniels, Cohen testified. Cohen also reportedly gave the House Oversight Committee — in front of whom he testified on Wednesday — a copy of a check for $35,000 signed by Trump Jr. Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg had also apparently signed the check, as Law & Crime reported.
Legal experts quickly took to Twitter to say that the signature on the $35,000 check may implicate Trump Jr. in a “criminal conspiracy,” Law & Crime reported.
In court documents filed with Cohen’s guilty plea by prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, a Trump Organization executive identified only as “Executive 2” allegedly authorized the payments to Cohen out of a Trump trust fund. According to former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti, writing on Twitter on Wednesday, the signature shows that “Executive 2” is Trump Jr.
Here are the checks Michael Cohen says he obtained from President Trump reimbursing him for the illegal hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels. One is drawn on Trump's personal account, the other on his revocable trust (which owns Trump's private businesses). pic.twitter.com/8eLDVtLUNi
— Brad Heath (@bradheath) February 27, 2019
“The ultimate target of the New York federal criminal investigation may be the Trump Organization official dubbed ‘Executive-2’ in the charges against Cohen,” Mariotti wrote in a Politico article published in December.
“Does this mean that Donald Trump Jr. authorized Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg to make the payment from the trust?” Mariotti wrote on his Twitter account. “That would make him ‘Executive-2’ in the charges against Cohen. Executive-2 may have significant federal and state criminal liability.”
After initially denying any knowledge of the payments to Daniels, the elder Trump admitted last August that the hush money payments “came from me,” as The Inquisitr reported.
But Trump also claimed that the payoff did not constitute a criminal campaign finance violation, according to The Guardian.
During Wednesday’s questioning of Cohen, Republican members on the House Oversight Committee repeatedly attempted to discredit Cohen by noting that he had previously admitted lying to Congress in earlier testimony. But former Justice Department official Matt Miller noted on his own Twitter account that — given the Republicans’ position that Cohen is a convicted liar — “they won’t object to subpoenaing Donald Trump Jr., [and] Alan Weisselberg… to tell their side of this story?”