The Office of Government Ethics (OGE) has formally referred the matter of President Donald Trump’s hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels to the Department of Justice for criminal investigation.
Ari Melber of MSNBC sent out this tweet Wednesday afternoon:
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 Justice Department spokesman Matt Miller called the letter sent by the OGE:
“Essentially a criminal referral to DOJ for Trump making a false statement in a previous financial disclosure.”
Miller went on to note:
Fascinated by OGE’s decision to make this referral public. 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).
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) May 16, 2018
Also weighing in on the OGE’s letter was Walter Shaub, former Director of the Office of Government Ethics, who commented:
This is tantamount to a criminal referral. OGE has effectively reported the president to DOJ for potentially committing a crime. Dave Apol comes through in the end!! https://t.co/8LhDQZS8pF
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) May 16, 2018
Trump allegedly made a payment of $130,000 to Daniels through a shell corporation set up by his attorney, Michael Cohen, who is currently under investigation by the U.S Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York.
Neither the White House or Justice Department have yet commented on the OGE’s referral.