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AT&T chief says hiring Michael Cohen was a 'big mistake'

12 May, 2018, 22:57 | Author: Sara Gill
  • AT&T Chief Calls Hiring Michael Cohen as Consultant a 'Big Mistake'

"Our company has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons these last few days and our reputation has been damaged", Stephenson said in a memo to employees. Cohen is often said to have been closer to the president than anyone else, and to have the best understanding of how he thought, and he seems to have pursued the purest version of the Trumpian scheme: Make big promises, pull in big money, underdeliver big-league.

The challenge before Quinn became clear during the campaign when Trump began raising objections to AT&T's proposed $85.4 billion purchase of Time Warner Inc. - a deal his Justice Department would go on to oppose in a lawsuit that's set to be decided in June. Quinn did not respond to a request for comment.

Rudy Giuliani lashed out at Stormy Daniels and her attorney Friday afternoon, suggesting the adult film actress with whom President Donald Trump allegedly had an affair is a prostitute.

At the same time he was collecting $50,000 a month from AT&T, Cohen was being paid large sums to advise other companies on a broad variety of issues, including the Affordable Care Act, accounting practices and real estate. He called the hiring of Cohen a "big mistake".

"I know Alan Dershowitz", Giuliani said.

Rudolph W. Giuliani, a lawyer for Trump, said Wednesday that the president was unaware of Cohen's consulting agreements. After law school, he joined AT&T as an attorney in 1993 and later ascended the ranks of the company's massive lobbying operations.

AT&T paid Cohen, President Trump's personal lawyer, $600,000 through a contract that ended in December 2017.

"We made a mistake in entering into this engagement and, as a outcome, are being criticized by a world that expects more from us", Novartis CEO Vasant Narasimhan said in a memo to employees.

For AT&T, the disclosure of its ties to Cohen comes at a critical moment. "However the reality is that our past association with Cohen was a significant misjudgment".


"In this instance our Washington, D.C. team's vetting process clearly failed, and I take responsibility for that", Stephenson wrote. Within Time Warner this week, officials were surprised to learn about the contract with Essentials Consulting. There has been no communication with Mueller's office since then, the company said.

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. He promised to provide advice on who the "key players" would be in Trump's administration and "their priorities, and how they think", AT&T said in a fact sheet released Friday.

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. AT&T said it would not disclose the names of the other people and firms hired. So when he took office, there were concerns within AT&T and Time Warner that he or his aides would try to block the deal. Quinn, who began working at AT&T in the 1980s, is well connected in the political circles of both parties. But like the rest of the nation's capital, it was caught on the outside looking in by Donald Trump's election triumph.

The office of Robert Mueller, special counsel in the Russian Federation probe, asked Ford about the matter a year ago and it was unclear if it had made any recent inquiries, the person said.

Novartis said this week it had also spoken with Mueller's team about the payments to Cohen.

A Novartis spokesperson confirmed to CNN on Friday afternoon that they received the letter and plan to cooperate.

"The media, the special interests, Wall Street, the career politicians - the system is rigged, and I've been saying it for a long time, and believe me, I'm right, but with your help, we're going to beat the system and we're going to unrig the system", Trump said.

"Cohen's corporate clients had business pending before the Trump administration", he said. Trump repeatedly has bashed CNN, a unit of Time Warner.

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

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