Published: Sat, May 12, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

How AT&T's Desperate Hunt for Trump Insight Led to Cohen Fiasco

How AT&T's Desperate Hunt for Trump Insight Led to Cohen Fiasco

As Donald Trump's longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen earned a reputation as the "fixer" for the Manhattan real estate tycoon and a pit bull defender of his larger-than-life boss.

The Justice Department wants AT&T to divest Time Warner's DirecTV unit or Turner networks as a condition of approving the acquisition.

Stephenson said the company's general counsel, David McAtee, will take over lobbying efforts in Washington.

In the memo, Stephenson announced that Bob Quinn, senior executive vice president of the external and legislative affairs group, "will be retiring".

The company says Cohen approached them following the 2016 election.

The AT&T payments were first revealed by Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who also said a company owned by Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg and other corporations paid Essential Consultants for certain services. It was through Essentials Consulting that AT&T retained Mr. Cohen.

"Companies often hire political consultants, especially at the beginning of a new presidential administration, and we have done so in previous administrations", a statement added.

The deal is significant because it raises questions about whether Trump knew about his personal attorney's financial dealings with AT&T and other companies with business before the Trump administration.

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AT&T never asked Cohen to set up meetings with anyone in the Trump administration, and he did not offer to do so, it said. According to a source, Muller has already interviewed, Ziad Ojakli, head of government affairs at Ford.

In a supplemental document linked from the email, Stephenson explained that Cohen was the one who approached the company offering insight on the administration's "key players, their priorities and how they think".

The corporate payments he received demonstrate how Cohen was able to turn his ties with the new president into moneymaking opportunities, despite Trump's campaign pledges to "drain the swamp".

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.

Cohen's lawyer, Stephen Ryan, declined to comment to The Post on Thursday's report.

President Trump said Thursday that Cohen represented him "with this insane Stormy Daniels deal", after previously denying any knowledge of a payment Cohen made to the porn actress alleging an affair with Trump.

Cohen paid $130,000 to Daniels just before the election not to discuss an alleged tryst with Trump. Quinn did not respond to a request for comment.

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