Cowen: AT&T/Cohen deal shouldn't influence Time Warner trial

13 May, 2018, 00:51 | Author: Teresa Adams
  • AT&T CEO calls hiring Michael Cohen for advice on Trump ‘big mistake

Meanwhile, the AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson stated Friday that the business's chief Washington lobbyist, Bob Quinn, are leaving the company after restarting the hiring of Cohen being a political consultant, that the Wall Street Journal claimed.

Giuliani said Friday that Trump was "surprised" to learn that Cohen brokered deals with companies looking to gain his knowledge about the president.

Cohen was also not registered as a lobbyist.

AT&T said this week it engaged with Essential Consultants previous year so Cohen could provide "insights into understanding the new administration" and added the company did not lobby for the telecommunications giant.

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.

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The Dallas-based telecom giant spent more than $350 million on advocacy in the past 20 years - including almost $17 million last year alone.

On Friday, Sen. Ron Wyden of OR, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, opened an inquiry into the arrangement between Cohen and Novartis, alleging that at the time of the deal the company was negotiating with Medicare on the price of a costly cancer drug. It was searching for people who were familiar with the president's thinking and priorities, but the company discovered after a few meetings in early 2017 that Mr. Cohen didn't have much information to offer and discussions with him dried up after that, the people said. They also raise questions about whether Trump knew about the arrangement. The deal did not permit him to lobby on AT&T's behalf without first notifying the company. Previously, he led AT&T's work before the Federal Communications Commission as the company's senior vice president for regulatory affairs.

"We're not going to interfere with that here", she said.

"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. Mr. Trump has denied the sexual encounter.

When AT&T swung its deal with Cohen, the merger was very much an issue in Washington.

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AT&T noted in the fact sheet that Cohen was among "several consultants" the company hired as Trump was assuming the presidency. The two sides have spent the past two months battling in federal court.

But many outlets have done just that, as the pending decision by U.S. District Judge Richard Leon is a pending development in what has proven to be a tangled story line.

In November the Department of Justice sued to block the merger between the telecom and media giants. The news broke last week thanks to Daniels' lawyer Michael Avenatti, who released documents that seemed to show hundreds of thousands of dollars also streamed to Cohen from AT&T and Korea Aerospace.

AT&T is no stranger to Washington politics.

AT&T's vast lobbying team, which includes more than 100 people, and public policy staff will now report to the company's general counsel, David McAtee.

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