Based AT&T calls hiring of Michael Cohen a "big mistake"

13 May, 2018, 00:59 | Author: Brooke Harris
  • Russian Payment to Michael Cohen's Firm'Extraordinary' Bauer Says

Payments that AT&T (NYSE:T) made to President Trump's personal lawyer aren't likely to have any bearing on the judge's decision in a landmark antitrust trial, Cowen says. "AT&T has a lucrative business merger being blocked by Trump's Department of Justice".

Mr. Stephenson's memo to AT&T's 249,000 employees followed the revelation that the company had paid Mr. Cohen $600,000 to advise on the $85.4 billion merger with Time Warner and other regulatory matters. That would have put his consulting fee at $1.8 million for the year.

Actually, there was never any "lobbying" work, according to AT&T, which reportedly released an internal memo Friday written by CEO Randall Stephenson. "There's a lot of people in Washington who are paid for their advice". Avenatti, in turn, said 99 percent of what he reported was accurate.

Months earlier, Trump had come out strongly against the proposed merger with Time Warner, which owns CNN - a network he often berates as "fake news". "Such a disgrace in reporting!"

News of AT&T's overtures to Avenue sheds additional light on its government relations strategy early in the Trump administration-which included its hiring of Cohen through an anonymous shell company, a decision that resulted in the ouster of a senior AT&T executive on Friday.

In late 2017 AT&T provided information about Cohen to Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, the company said in the fact sheet. But Cohen has known Trump for years. "Whatever lobbying was done didn't reach the president", Giuliani told HuffPost. CEO Vas Narasimhan said in a letter to employees on Thursday that the company "made a mistake" in retaining Cohen. In a June 2016 statement he said "it's vital to put our country's well-being ahead of party", called Clinton qualified, and said "the alternative, I fear, would set our nation on a very dark path". "We agreed to meet with them".

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SIMON: And what do we know about the contract that AT&T had with Michael Cohen, and what other companies had? Once brought to light, the company apologized and then ousted its lobbying head.

It is unclear what insight Cohen - a longtime real estate attorney and former taxi cab operator - could have provided AT&T on complex telecom matters.

"In this instance our Washington, D.C. team's vetting process clearly failed, and I take responsibility for that", Stephenson wrote. 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.

Stephenson said Quinn plans to retire, but people familiar with the matter told the Journal that the policy chief was forced to leave.

Earlier this week, the telecommunications giant said it had co-operated when contacted late past year by investigators from the office of Robert Mueller, the special counsel looking into allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election campaign.

But Quinn appeared to recognize that the Cohen deal was a mistake, according to another person who spoke on the condition of anonymity to freely discuss Quinn's situation.



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