Giuliani 'quite certain' Trump didn't know about Cohen deals

13 May, 2018, 09:51 | Author: Sheri Evans
  • CEO of AT&T Randall L. Stephenson

Brian Fung and Tony Romm, The Washington Post •.

For AT&T, the disclosure of its ties to Cohen comes at a critical moment. CNN is owned by Time Warner. Internal AT&T documents obtained by The Washington Post show how AT&T agreed to pay $600,000 to Cohen previous year in exchange for guidance on policy matters, including issues it is facing at the Federal Communications Commission and its proposed deal with Time Warner.

The admission echoes one made by Swiss drugmaker Novartis on the same day. Last year, AT&T spent almost $17 million on federal lobbying, the third highest among companies.

While Trump has been consistent about his opposition to the AT&T deal, "he didn't interfere" with the Justice Department case, Giuliani told CNN.

Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor, said it is "highly unusual for the president to be involved in DOJ merger decisions" in a reaction to the Huffington Post article on Twitter.

AT&T and Time Warner had suggested before the trial that the Justice Department's decision to block a merger of two companies that do not compete was influenced by presidential politics. "Such a disgrace in reporting!" It was through Essential Consultants that AT&T retained Cohen.

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In an interview with HuffPost, Giuliani implied that Trump personally intervened to block the merger between Time Warner and AT&T, which the White House has vociferously denied.

"We will do better", Stephenson wrote Friday. Cohen was not discussed in Stephenson's meeting with Trump, according to a person familiar with that encounter.

"Whatever lobbying was done didn't reach the president ..."

Trump frequently railed against the AT&T merger on the campaign trail, calling it bad for the country. AT&T said it had "cooperated fully" with the inquiries.

"We didn't engage with them".

Instead, the telecom giant moved ahead with Cohen.

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The payments were made to Essential Consultants, a company created by Cohen one month before the 2016 US presidential election.

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.

On Friday, AT&T has called its contract with Cohen a "big mistake", and forced out the executive who had arranged it. In his companywide email, Stephenson acknowledged that his "Washington D.C. team's vetting process clearly failed". "They went about it in the wrong way". It also announced that AT&T Senior Vice President Bob Quinn, who oversaw Cohen's hiring, would be retiring.

AT&T has said Cohen approached employees in the company's Washington office shortly after the election.

The president was considering sidelining him from television interviews, the report said. "But that's factually accurate and it ought to carry more weight in this situation". "I think it's pretty clear the Department of Justice opposed the merger, so the president or his administration hasn't been influenced by any outside special interest". After law school, he joined AT&T as an attorney in 1993 and later ascended the ranks of the company's massive lobbying operations.

Quinn did not respond to a request for comment. Shares of Time Warner have suffered no dramatic drops since AT&T's connection with Cohen first came to light earlier this week. "They didn't get the result they wanted". He tweeted that it would be "helpful for the public to witness a discussion between Mr. Giuliani and me concerning the facts of the case, etc".

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