AT&T CEO says hiring Trump attorney Michael Cohen was a 'big mistake'

AT&T CEO says hiring Trump attorney Michael Cohen was a 'big mistake'

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.

AT&T's head lobbyist, Bob Quinn, who oversaw the hiring of Cohen, is retiring, according to the memo.

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.

Quinn's abrupt departure leaves almost 100 lobbyists working to complete an embattled merger with Time Warner, as well as to preserve gains the company made elsewhere, including in weakening federal oversight of its internet business.

"The president had no knowledge of it", Rudy Giuliani told HuffPost in an interview.

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 was visited by the special investigator Robert Mueller's team six months ago to ask questions about Cohen, but it did not reveal its relationship until it was revealed for them by Daniels' attorney, Micheal Avenetti.

According to the report, AT&T and Avenue discussed a deal that would pay the firm around $40,000/month but would not entail official lobbying - a structure similar to the company's deal with Cohen.

AT&T and the pharmaceutical company Novartis, another Cohen client, said this week that they provided information about their dealings with Trump's lawyer to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III past year.

The FBI raided Cohen's home and office in April, as part of a probe being conducted by NY federal prosecutors. 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.

'Everything we did was done according to the law and entirely legitimate.'
Stephenson says the company made a "big mistake" in hiring President Donald Trump's attorney Michael Cohen as a political consultant.

It was about that time that the company heard from Cohen, 51, described alternately as Trump's "personal lawyer" or his "fixer".

Cohen drew up the agreement, complete with fake names for Trump and Daniels, and paid the money using a shell company he registered in DE just days earlier.

Even though the pledge didn't apply, Brendan Fischer of the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center said Cohen's arrangement shows that Trump has failed to "drain the swamp" in Washington as he promised he would do. Cohen did not respond to requests for comment. There has been no communication with Mueller's office since then, the company said.

Michael Avenatti, attorney and spokesperson for adult film star Stormy Daniels, listens to a reporters' question during an interview at The Associated Press, March 21, 2018, in NY.

Federal law requires companies such as AT&T to register individuals as lobbyists if they devote at least 20 percent of their time contacting and trying to influence key government decision-makers, including the president. "They went about it in the wrong way".

Rudolph W. Giuliani, a lawyer for Trump, said Wednesday that the president was unaware of Cohen's consulting agreements.

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