May 24, 2018

Novartis CEO on Michael Cohen deal

12 May 2018, 11:21 | Marta Robbins

Mueller seeking documents from Ford Motor Company over failed Michael Cohen pitch for work: report

AT&T CEO calls decision to hire Trump fixer Michael Cohen 'serious misjudgment'

Ford Motor Co. quickly rebuffed Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen when he approached the Michigan-based automaker about consulting services in January 2017, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

She has requested a copy of the contract between Novartis and Essential Consultants, a list of meetings and calls that took place between the two entities, contact with Trump administration officials in the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services, and any other information about other contracts or payments over $1 million with consultants "to gain access to and insight into the White House or Department of Health and Human Services". "But the fact is, our past association with Cohen was a serious misjudgment", Stephenson wrote in a memo to employees. Stephenson says the company made a "big mistake" in hiring President Donald Trump's attorney Michael Cohen as a political consultant.

Essential Consultants was the same firm Cohen used in October to pay Stormy Daniels $130,000 in exchange for an agreement not to disclose her alleged affair with Trump.

"AT&T hiring Michael Cohen as a political consultant was a big mistake", the CEO's letter stated, noting that everything was done according to the law. Ron Wyden of OR, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, who sent a separate letter Friday to Cohen regarding the payments from Novartis to his shell company Essential Consultants.

The Justice Department sued in late 2017 to block the AT&T-Time Warner deal, and the case is pending in federal court following a seven-week trial.

Avenatti said he was aware of four months of payments to Cohen totaling $200,000. "In this instance, our Washington DC team's vetting process clearly failed, and I take responsibility for that".

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AT&T said Friday that it was also approached at the time by Avenue Strategies, a lobbying firm launched by former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.

Earlier this week, the telecommunications giant said it had co-operated when contacted late a year ago by investigators from the office of Robert Mueller, the special counsel looking into allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election campaign. It was later revealed that it paid Cohen $600,000 for strategic advice on its $85 billion merger with Time Warner, which Trump has opposed.

Cecilia Kang is a New York Times writer.

Because the news cycle flies by at roughly 100,000 miles per hour these days, let me catch you up on how we got here.

AT&T declined to comment on Thursday's Post story, and Cohen's attorney, Stephen Ryan, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. They also raise questions about whether Trump knew about the arrangement.

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