AT&T’s top Washington exec was forced out of his lucrative gig after he authorized paying $600,000 to President Trump’s longtime lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen for advice on the At&T/Time Warner Merger, the NY Post Reported.
The telecommunications giant told employees in a memo that Bob Quinn was retiring — but an insider said Quinn was booted after the embarrassing revelation about the payment, the Wall Street Journal reported.
“There is no other way to say it — AT&T hiring Michael Cohen as a political consultant was a big mistake,” company CEO Randall Stephenson said in the message to employees.
Internal documents show that President Trump’s lawyer was paid the money to help guide the company on its proposed $85 billion merger — which must pass federal antitrust regulators, the Washington Post reported. The Justice Department is seeking to block AT&T’s purchase of Time Warner on the grounds that it would stifle competition.
According to the documents Cohen received the payments in $50,000 per month instalments, which were transacted thru an offshore shell company called Essential Consultants. Pornographic performer Stormy Daniels received $130,000 in hush money from the same shell company just before the 2016 election.
Federal Bureau of Investigation agents executed search warrants in early April and seized financial documents and other records possibly related to Trump’s contacts with Cohen, who paid $130,000 in hush money to adult film actress Stormy Daniels shortly before Trump’s 2016 election to keep her quiet about the 2006 one-night affair she claims to have had with Trump, TJV reported.
This event set off a chain of events including former NYC Mayor Giuliani being hired by Trump as a lawyer and making the issue of the payments to Daniels even more convoluted. The former Mayor’s TV appearances resulted in questions arising as to whether the money which Giuliani said that Trump paid back to Cohen could be considered campaign donations. Anti-Trump pundits and politicians went into a feeding frenzy for weeks because of these events.
In other developments regarding Trump’s troubled lawyer, Switzerland’s Attorney General is in discussions with local prosecutors in the hometown of Novartis AG about payments the drug-maker made to Michael Cohen. Novartis Chief Executive Officer Vas Narasimhan said last week that the company “made a mistake” in signing up lawyer Michael Cohen to give the company insight on Trump’s health-care plans, Bloomberg reported. Left wing senators have made this a political talking point in their line of attack against Trump, by tying Cohen’s actions to the presidency.
Other groups that paid money into Cohen’s Essential Consultants LLC Columbus Nova, a unit of Renova, an investment vehicle for Russian tycoon Viktor Vekselberg, who is among those with sanctions against them by the U.S. to punish Russia for its suspected election meddling and aggression in Ukraine and Crimea, Bloomberg reported.
By Murray Goldstein