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AT&T Chief Calls Hiring Michael Cohen as Consultant a 'Big Mistake'

12 May, 2018, 22:57 | Author: Shawna Walton
  • Mark Wilson  Getty Images North America

"There is no other way to say it - AT&T hiring Michael Cohen as a political consultant was a big mistake", the memo said.

The documents detail the full scope of Cohen's $600,000 deal with AT&T and how his contract specified that he would provide advice on the $85 billion merger, which required the approval of federal antitrust regulators.

He also announced the departure of Bob Quinn, who heads the company's Washington lobbying and government affairs operations.

"I'm not going to comment on an internal staff meeting", Sanders responded, looking-through-her-lorgnette-ily, when asked about Kelly Sadler's cruel crack.

Its payments flowed into Essential Consultants, a company Cohen set up in the fall of 2016 to pay pornographic-film actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 as part of a confidentiality agreement to keep her quiet about an alleged sexual encounter she had with Trump.

With five simple words, "the president denied the merger", President Trump's new lawyer Rudy Giuliani contradicted months of statements by the White House and the Justice Department.

On Tuesday, it was revealed that Cohen had received a series of payments into his shell company, Essential Consulting, LLC.

So far, Trump, not known for clarification, has not issued a follow-up tweet.

Of Avenatti, Giuliani said, "I don't get involved with pimps".

Drugmaker Novartis on Wednesday said it had a US$1.2 million contract with Cohen's firm, but soon realized the agreement was a mistake.

The email comes at a critical time for AT&T.

But Cohen's "lobbying" seemed to be nonexistent, especially since last November the Justice Department sued AT&T to block the bid, citing antitrust concerns.

The letter said that while the deal with Cohen was "done according to the law" and was "entirely legitimate", the association with Cohen was "a serious misjudgment".

Stephen Ryan, an attorney for Cohen, wrote in a court filing earlier this week that Avenatti has "no lawful basis to possess" the records and asked a judge to require Avenatti to explain how he came to possess and release them.

Stephenson noted that the company's reputation has been damaged and that the vetting process used by its team in Washington "clearly failed". Payments to Cohen were approved by two executives in AT&T's public affairs office in Washington.

Almost a year and a half since Trump took office, "the swamp" hasn't changed much - in fact, Trump appears to be making Washington even swampier. AT&T said it would not disclose the names of the other people and firms hired. But Cohen's hiring has proven to be an embarrassment for AT&T. Quinn, who began working at AT&T in the 1980s, is well connected in the political circles of both parties. "Quinn stepping down is not going to cripple AT&T", said Feld.

Wyden, a Democrat from OR, noted in a letter to Narasimhan that at the time Novartis was paying Cohen, it was seeking approval and negotiating a payment deal with the USA government for a cancer drug called Kymriah that has a list price of $475,000. Trump has been vocal in his disdain for CNN's coverage of his administration.

Giuliani is also a former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of NY, which is the office now investigating Cohen's business dealings.

Leon is expected to deliver an opinion on the case by June 12.

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