We made 'big mistake' hiring Trump's lawyer Cohen, says AT&T CEO


AT&T said it has been looking for consultants who could help it understand the president's approach to regulatory reform at the Federal Communications Commission, tax reform and antitrust enforcement - "specifically our Time Warner deal".

Later in the week, it was reported that the initial AT&T number was drastically lower than what was actually paid - AT&T gave Cohen $600,000 to advise the company on its proposed $85 billion merger with Time Warner, something Trump had previously opposed.

Stephenson noted in the letter that a senior vice president of the company's internal government affairs group will be retiring in the wake of the Cohen revelations.

Quinn started with the Bell system as an operator for Illinois Bell in 1980, before AT&T was broken up by the Justice Department in a landmark antitrust action four years later.

"Why doesn't the Fake News Media state that the Trump Administration's Anti-Trust Division has been, and is, opposed to the AT&T purchase of Time Warner in a now ongoing Trial".

Rudy Giuliani told HuffPost on Friday that President Trump "denied" the AT&T-Time Warner merger, proof that he was not influenced by Michael Cohen after he lined up AT&T as a consulting client as the transaction was under review.

While Trump has been consistent about his opposition to the AT&T deal, "he didn't interfere" with the Justice Department case, Giuliani told CNN.

Cohen's payments from companies while acting as a personal lawyer to the president may raise legal issues besides whether the consulting work constituted lobbying. 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.

On Friday, Sen. Ron Wyden of OR, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, opened an inquiry into the arrangement between Cohen and Novartis, alleging that at the time of the deal the company was negotiating with Medicare on the price of a costly cancer drug.

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Cohen is also under investigation by prosecutors in NY for possible bank fraud and campaign finance violations.

When AT&T swung its deal with Cohen, the merger was very much an issue in Washington.

Stephenson insisted in his memo that "everything we did was done according to the law and entirely legitimate" and that Cohen did not do any lobbying on behalf of AT&T.

AT&T is saying that the hiring of Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen was a "big mistake".

Cohen's lawyer, Stephen Ryan, declined to comment. "Novartis paid Mr. Cohen hundreds of thousands dollars more than it paid its big-shot lobbyists in Washington".

Essential Consultants was the same company Cohen used in October 2016 to route money to Daniels in exchange for her agreement not to disclose an alleged affair with Trump.

Giuliani said Cohen's business relationships did not contradict Trump's campaign promises to end "pay-to-play" schemes and to "drain the swamp" because Cohen did not get for his newfound clients what they wanted. Within Time Warner this week, officials were surprised to learn about the contract with Essential Consultants. Both AT&T and Novartis said that special counsel Robert Mueller's office contacted them previous year. But the company would not answer questions about what specifically went wrong and whether it would enact changes in how it conducts business in Washington.

Asked if the president was aware that Cohen was trying to sell influence and knowledge of the president, Giuliani said, "The answer is that I am quite certain he didn't".