Missing documents prompted leak of Trump lawyer Michael Cohen's bank records: Report

  • The Senate Finance Committee's ranking Democrat asks the Treasury Department's inspector general to examine allegedly missing bank reports that are said to detail suspicious activity in an account of Trump attorney Michael Cohen.
  • Earlier, The New Yorker reported that a law enforcement official leaked a suspicious activity report about Cohen and payments by Novartis and AT&T to his Essential Consultants company.
  • The magazine says the official became concerned after two other reports were discovered missing from the Treasury Department's database.

The Senate Finance Committee's ranking Democrat asked the Treasury Department's inspector general Thursday to examine allegedly missing bank reports that are said to detail suspicious activity in an account of Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon also asked that the Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network give his committee documents relevant to the Cohen reports.

The absence of two alleged "suspicious activity reports" was first reported by The New Yorker. A law enforcement official, concerned about the missing documents, was the source of a third leaked report, the magazine said Wednesday.

The three documents described transactions surrounding Cohen's shell company Essential Consultants, The New Yorker said.

The documents were produced by First Republic Bank, with which Essential Consultants had an account, according to the magazine. The leaked report revealed hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments to Essential Consultants from multinational drug company Novartis and telecom giant AT&T.

Those payments came to light last week when the lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels tweeted a summary of payments to Cohen's shell company. Daniels, who claims she had an affair with Donald Trump a decade ago, is suing to void a $130,000 nondisclosure deal crafted by Cohen and brokered through Essential Consultants. That agreement was signed weeks before Trump was elected president.

The White House denies he had an affair with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.

AT&T and Novartis admitted to making payments to Cohen shortly after the tweet by Daniels' lawyer, Michael Avenatti. Those payments, as well as an alleged payment from a Russian oligarch to Cohen through the company Columbus Nova, were all included in the leaked bank document, the magazine reported.

The official who leaked the report said two other reports about the transactions were missing from the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, according to The New Yorker.

Those two suspicious activity reports allegedly cover more than $3 million in additional transactions related to Cohen's account with First Republic Bank, The New Yorker said.

The official told The New Yorker, "I have never seen something pulled off the system. ... That system is a safeguard for the bank. It's a stockpile of information. When something's not there that should be, I immediately became concerned."

That concern prompted the official to leak the first document, despite the legal risks of doing so, according to The New Yorker.

Avenatti has called on the Treasury Department to immediately release the three suspicious activity reports on Cohen's company.

Essential Consultants was also used for a hush deal involving Elliott Broidy, former Republican National Committee deputy finance chairman, and a former Playboy model he allegedly impregnated. The deal involved Broidy paying the model $1.6 million.

The New Yorker's review of other banks' suspicious activity reports about Cohen's transactions found that a report from City National Bank documented Broidy's payments to Cohen and another lawyer. Broidy reportedly sent three payments of $62,500 to Cohen — one of which went to Essential Consultants' account, the magazine said. Broidy resigned from the RNC after news outlets reported the alleged deal.

A representative for Broidy told The New Yorker that its account of his payments was "not correct." "Mr. Broidy is not going to detail his payments for legal services to Mr. Cohen," the representative told the magazine.

Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank, said that while the suspicious activity reports may be absent from the Treasury Department's database, the bank itself likely still has copies of the records.

Read the full report on The New Yorker's website.