Citing an unnamed source, Axios said the check was an incremental payment reimbursing Cohen for a payment made to Stormy Daniels in the fall of 2016 to buy her silence about her sexual relationship with Trump.
The check was dated August 1st, 2017, which means that Trump wrote it while he was several months into his presidency. The check was written out for the amount of $35,000.
Daniels is the porn star who claims to have had an affair with Trump several years ago, after he was married to Melania and after his son Barron was born.
The source said: “It was another installment in the illegal hush money ‘reimbursed’ to Cohen … for [the Stormy Daniels] hush money payoff.”
Cohen will also testify on Wednesday that Trump instructed him to pay off Daniels using a home equity line of credit, which the president said he would pay back at a later date.
Trump has denied the affair with Daniels and initially he also denied knowing anything about the payments to Daniels.
Cohen is expected to accuse Trump of engaging in criminal conduct while in office. The allegation apparently relates to the Daniels hush money payment, but it may include other crimes also.
Here are additional excerpts from Cohen’s opening statement, which have been confirmed:
- “I am ashamed that I chose to take part in concealing Mr. Trump’s illicit acts rather than listening to my own conscience. I am ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is.”
- “He is a racist. He is a conman. He is a cheat. He was a presidential candidate who knew that Roger Stone was talking with Julian Assange about a WikiLeaks drop of Democratic National Committee emails.”
- “He once asked me if I could name a country run by a black person that wasn’t a ‘shithole.’ This was when Barack Obama was President.”
- “While we were once driving through a struggling neighborhood in Chicago, he commented that only black people could live that way.”
- “And, he told me that black people would never vote for him because they were too stupid.”
Cohen also narrates documents he gave the committee:
- “Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes, such as trying to be listed among the wealthiest people in Forbes, and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes.”
- “Mr. Trump directed me to find a straw bidder to purchase a portrait of him that was being auctioned at an Art Hamptons Event. The objective was to ensure that his portrait, which was going to be auctioned last, would go for the highest price of any portrait that afternoon.”
- “The portrait was purchased by the fake bidder for $60,000. Mr. Trump directed the Trump Foundation, which is supposed to be a charitable organization, to repay the fake bidder, despite keeping the art for himself.”
- “He asked me to pay off an adult film star with whom he had an affair, and to lie to his wife about it, which I did. Lying to the First Lady is one of my biggest regrets.”
- “I am giving the Committee today a copy of the $130,000 wire transfer from me to [Stormy Daniels’] attorney.”
Cohen is scheduled to testify before the House Oversight Committee from 10 a.m. ET.