AT&T deal with Cohen specified providing advice on Time Warner merger

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Ford Motor Co. quickly rebuffed Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen when he approached the Michigan-based automaker about consulting services in January 2017, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

Trump attacked the media after reports that Cohen had pitched himself as a consultant on Trump administration policy in the days after the 2016 election and received hundreds of thousands of dollars from AT&T, among other companies.

On Friday, a fact sheet released in which AT&T has said that Mr. Cohen approached employees in the company's Washington office shortly after the election.

The AT&T payment was also significant because Essential Consulting, the shell consulting firm Cohen set up to receive payments, also happens to be the firm that paid Stormy Daniels the $130,000 in hush money. Sanders claimed the payments actually show that the president isn't beholden to special interests. This morning, AT&T's CEO took the extraordinary step of apologizing for AT&T's "big mistake" in a memo to the company. 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. Though Cohen was still contracted with AT&T at the time, the company says he never lobbied on its behalf. On Thursday a source with knowledge of the matter confirmed that AT&T paid Cohen $600,000 for the year.

"To be clear, everything we did was according to the law and entirely legitimate", Stephenson wrote.


Pressed on how corporate shelling out to the president's private lawyer, specifically for insights into the president constituted "draining the swamp", Sanders referred to this planned merger involving AT&T and also TimeWarner which has been contrasted in a lawsuit by Trump's Justice Department at November. "David's number one priority is to ensure every one of the individuals and firms we use in the political arena are people who share our high standards and who we would be proud to have associated with AT&T". "In this instance, our Washington D.C. team's vetting process clearly failed, and I take responsibility for that", the CEO said.

Cecilia Kang is a New York Times writer.

Cohen had reached out to AT&T before Stephenson's huddle with the president, the person said. They described his work as advising the company, not contacting federal officials.

"I think that it's reasonably apparent the division of Justice opposed the merger, " and thus certainly the president has not yet been influenced by any, or his own administration influenced by any outside special interests", Sanders said. They also raise questions about whether Trump knew about the arrangement.

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