AT&T CEO calls decision to hire Trump fixer Michael Cohen 'serious misjudgment'

Drugmaker Novartis signed a one-year agreement with Essential Consultants in February 2017, paying Mr. Cohen $1.2 million total.

Attorney Michael Avenatti tweeted this week allegations that companies and a Russian oligarch paid Cohen's LLC millions, and he said that there was a chance that Russian money was used to pay his client Stormy Daniels $130,000 in 2016.

Novartis says it concluded - after a first meeting under contract - that Cohen could not provide the advice on health care policy it sought, but why did it enter into a deal in the first place, and why did it not exit the contract if Cohen couldn't deliver the agreed-upon services?

To be blunt: If Russian-linked funds went into Cohen's kitty and hush payments went out the other end, then we have the makings of a jaw-dropping plot that would likely be rejected by Hollywood moviemakers as too far-fetched. Did anyone at the company actually meet with Cohen before agreeing to spend $1.2 million? While there is nothing improper about the practice, the issue is more complicated in this case because Mr. Cohen was operating as both a strategic adviser and personal lawyer to Mr. Trump.

"He reached out to us", the Novartis employee said, providing STAT with the company's version of events as it scrambles to contain the fallout from being entangled in the investigations surrounding Trump and his inner circle, including Cohen.

AT&T hired Cohen at $50,000 a month for 12 months before the contract expired in December - a month before Cohen's involvement in the Stormy Daniels payoff came to light in the Wall Street Journal.

Most notably, Avenatti recently published what appear, at least in part, to be bank records relating to Michael Cohen.

On Wednesday, Avenatti took to Twitter to encourage media outlets to investigate the alleged SARs filed on Cohen's Essential Consulting.

The Treasury Department has opened an investigation into whether bank records belonging to President Trump's private lawyer were illegally leaked to a lawyer for porn actress Stormy Daniels.

Giuliani is said to have left the firm due to the all-consuming nature of his duties on Trump's legal team, which is fronting Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into possible collusion with Russian Federation. Novartis said it cooperated with those queries "and provided all the information requested".

Cohen has a long record of contacts with rich immigrants from the former Soviet Union and, according to The New York Times, built his own "shadowy" business empire with their help.

It was widely reported Tuesday evening that AT&T had paid at least $200,000 to Essential Consultants, the DE firm Cohen had created ahead of the 2016 presidential election. A source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday that AT&T paid more than $200,000 to Cohen's company.

In March 2017, a group of Novartis employees, mostly from the government affairs and lobbying teams, met with Cohen in NY to discuss specific issues and strategies.

"Essential Consulting was one of several firms we engaged in early 2017 to provide insights into understanding the new administration", a spokeswoman said in an email Tuesday.

Trump had dinner with Novartis' soon-to-be CEO Vasant Narasimhan, along with other European executives, at the World Economic Forum in Davos shortly after the date of the final payment. Suggestions to the contrary clearly misrepresent the facts and can only be meant to further personal or political agendas as to which Novartis should not be a part. It also denied that Essential did any legal or lobbying work for the company.

  • Leroy Wright