MSNBC chief legal correspondent Ari Melber reports that the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) sent a letter to the Department of Justice on President Donald Trump’s hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels.
NEW: Ethics office sending letter to Rod Rosenstein stating that Michael Cohen's payment on behalf of Trump was a debt and may be relevant to "any inquiry" Rosenstein may be pursuing. pic.twitter.com/e22Jfuozic
— Ari Melber (@AriMelber) May 16, 2018
Former Department of Justice spokesperson Matt Miller described the letter as “essentially a criminal referral to DOJ for Trump making a false statement in a previous financial disclosure.”
“Fascinated by OGE’s decision to make this referral public,” he continued. “Leaves DOJ no choice but to open at least a preliminary investigation into Trump for false statements (if he wasn’t already a subject in the Cohen inquiry, which he might be).”
Walter Shaub, the former Director of the Office of Government Ethics, went even further than Miller.
“This is tantamount to a criminal referral,” Shaub suggested. “OGE has effectively reported the president to DOJ for potentially committing a crime.”