>> And we are going to drain the swamp of corruption in Washington, DC.>> President Trump promised to drain the swamp, vowing to root out corruption and influence peddling when he campaigned for office. But new documents are raising questions about why Russian oligarchs and Fortune 500 companies funneled millions of dollars in secret payments to Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.
I'm Andy Sullivan in Washington, where Trump's legal woes continue to mount. Not just the Russia investigation, but also the battle with porn star Stormy Daniels, who said that Cohen paid her $130,000 to keep quiet about an affair she says she had with Trump. Now her lawyer is digging into those payments, and he's finding that Cohen took in money from a wide range of businesses, through his company Essential Consultants.
This all during Trump's first year in office. Now Trump may not know anything about these payments, and these payments may not be illegal. But they raise a new set of questions, and are making lots of people uncomfortable.>> Do you know whether Mr. Cohen ever approached the White House as a representative of any of those companies, whether the President was aware of the payments, or whether he was aware that Mr. Cohen was marketing himself?
>> I'm not aware, and again, I would refer you to the outside counsel.>> Daniels' attorney Michael Avenatti says Cohen took $500,000 from a private equity firm owned by Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, one of several prominent Russians who have been hit with US sanctions in retaliation for the Kremlin's suspected meddling in the 2016 election.
The documents also show that Cohen's company took payments from AT&T, Korea Aerospace Industries, and pharmaceutical giant Novartis, all companies that have dealings with the US government. Cohen says Avenatti's report is inaccurate. But those companies all confirm the transactions, saying they paid Cohen for his expertise and his insights into the Trump Administration.
We don't know where all of this is heading, but this latest revelation is yet another sign that some in Trump's inner circle may have taken his drain the swamp rhetoric with a grain of a salt.>> Mr. President!