Trump investigation: Cummings requests testimony from two Trump attorneys over hush money payments, report says

The attorneys are said to have taken part in overseeing the president's financial disclosure forms

Clark Mindock
New York
Monday 11 March 2019 15:45 GMT

House investigators are planning to pursue interviews with two attorneys responsible for Donald Trump’s ethics and financial disclosures, a sign that the congressional probes are broadening their scope into new members of the president’s orbit.

House Oversight Committee chairman Elijah Cummings has his sights set on attorneys Sheri Dillon and Stefan Passantino, two figures that could help establish whether Donald Trump committed crimes while making hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels.

Democratic aides tell NBC News that neither attorney has agreed to cooperate with the committee, and both failed to meet a deadline earlier this month to agree to provide transcribed testimony to the committee.

The White House, meanwhile, has declined to make Mr Passantino available for interviews.

The requests mark some of the first attempts by Democrats to compel the Trump administration to cooperate in their attempts to investigate questions surrounding $130,000 in hush money that was allegedly paid to Daniels just before the 2016 election.

In letters to the lawyers, the House committee says they “appeared to provide false information” to federal officials in the financial disclosure forms.

Mr Passantino was a White House deputy counsel overseeing ethics policy. He now works for the Trump Organisation. Ms Dillon is a personal attorney to Mr Trump.

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Questions surrounding the payments gained newfound momentum following the testimony of Mr Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen, who provided the committee with copies of cheques he received from the president as reimbursement for that payment. Court fillings indicate that the payments may have been made in violation of federal campaign finance law.

Republicans have push back on Democrat efforts to compel the new testimony, however, with Representative Jim Jordan leading a charge calling the suggestion that either attorney lid “extremely unfair and unsupported accusations.”

“This is a serious charge, for which you relied only on cherry-picked passages of incomplete, one-sided handwritten notes prepared,” Mr Jordans wrote in a letter to Cummings, alongside Representative Mark Meadows.

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