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Trump must file paperwork on Stormy Daniels hush money today — here’s why it could blow up in his face

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While the world is occupied with primary elections and Israeli violence against Palestinians, the Stormy Daniels beat quietly continues on.

Today is a major deadline for Donald Trump and this legal team, who must either disclose the debts Donald Trump owed his attorney Michael Cohen for his agreement with Stormy Daniels and any other similar hush-money pay-outs or double-down on a dicey legal strategy. The Ethics in Government Act establishes May 15 as the deadline for reporting any “liabilities that exceeded $10,000 at any time during calendar year 2017.”

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That would include the $130,000 owed to Michael Cohen, who paid off Daniels in October 2016.

Does Trump now disclose the Daniels payout and any others, or risk a full-blown investigation into the money by a federal agency?

Walter Shaub and Adav Noti, two attorneys specializing in campaign law wrote about that question for USA Today.

“The answer should be easy, but the president is in a difficult position. He left out the Daniels-related debt in the financial disclosure report he filed on June 14, 2017. Disclosing it now means acknowledging that he should have disclosed it last year,” they write. “Disclosure may also lead to damaging revelations if he omitted other liabilities from any past financial disclosure reports or incurred new ones since June.”

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Essentially, Trump has to admit it was a campaign expense that he previously failed to disclose or set himself up for an investigation by the Federal Election Commission.

Shaub and Noti go through all the loopholes that Trump might try to use, all of which seem inconsistent with statements made by one or more members of his team. For example, claiming that the Trump Organization was the debtor could cause legal headaches as hushing Daniels right before the election could lead to criminal prosecution under the law which bans corporations from giving money to federal candidates, if the Trump Organization was trying, “even in part, to help Trump get elected and coordinated the payment with him.”

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The legal experts said Trump should just give up and come clean.

“Lacking a suitable loophole, Trump should cut his losses. He may already be in trouble for omitting his debt to Cohen from last year’s report. If that omission was knowing and willful, the president may have violated a law that comes with civil and criminal penalties,” they write. “Trump should avoid giving Justice another potential violation to investigate when he files his next financial disclosure report.”

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Florida teacher removed after bizarre rant about students not standing for the pledge

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Students were faced with a white-board rant in a classroom attacking anyone not standing up for the Pledge of Allegiance.

The moment went viral locally on Thursday after students posted Daniel Goodman‘s “inappropriate” message to students at First Coast High School in Duval County, Florida, The Atlanta Black Star reported.

“THINK: We had about a half million Americans die in our Civil War, which was largely to get rid of slavery. There are no longer separate water fountains and bathrooms in Jacksonville for ‘white’ and ‘colored,’ as Mr. Goodman remembers from the 1960?s. We had an amendment to the U.S. Constitution allowing women the right to vote. We have had a Black president. The superintendent of Duval Schools is a Black woman. Mr. Fluent, our principal, replaced a Black man. Mr. Simmons, who now is a DC PS admninistrator.”

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Missouri official choose Dr. Seuss’ ‘Oh the Places You’ll Go’ for swearing-in ceremony instead of ‘The Bible’

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A Missouri county official is being both celebrated and attacked after a decision to forgo The Bible for her swearing-in ceremony and opted for a copy of Oh, The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss.

The Friendly Atheist at Patheos captured the story, posting a photo of St. Louis City Councilmember Kelli Dunaway's children holding a copy of the book while she took her oath of office.

This was the scene last week at the STLCO government center. Democrats took back control of the council and @DunawayKelli was sworn in on a copy of “Oh the Places you’ll go” with her children❤️ so proud to be part of #TeamKelli pic.twitter.com/iJ1dxfZ1Zg

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Trump predicts New York Times will go out of business when he’s out of office

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In a permission tweet, President Donald Trump announced that his presidency is the only thing keeping the New York Times in business. Yet, somehow, they're also attacking him and lying about him.

"The New York Times will be out of business soon after I leave office, hopefully in 6 years. They have Zero credibility and are losing a fortune, even now, especially after their massive unfunded liability. I'm fairly certain they'll endorse me just to keep it all going!" he tweeted.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1163238629730373632

Since taking office, subscriptions for The Times have increased dramatically. According to an August report, The Times boasted a 4.7 million increase in subscribers for the second quarter. Their revenue growth was 5.2 percent. It certainly is a modest increase, but it's also an increase in an era when newspapers are struggling to survive.

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