AT&T paid Trump lawyer to advise on Time Warner deal

AT&T gave Mueller information on payments to Cohen

Asked if President Donald Trump believes it was a mistake for Cohen to advise AT&T, Sanders said that the episode only shows how committed Trump is to "draining the swamp".

Randall Stephenson, AT&T's chairman and chief executive, also told employees in a message that the company's policy chief Bob Quinn would be retiring following the disclosures of payments to lawyer Michael Cohen, who is now the focus of a series of investigations. Its payments flowed into Essential Consultants, a company Cohen set up in the fall of 2016 to pay pornographic-film actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 as part of a confidentiality agreement to keep her quiet about an alleged sexual encounter she had with Trump.

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. Though Cohen was still contracted with AT&T at the time, the company says he never lobbied on its behalf. AT&T disagreed, sending the battle into a federal trial. AT&T's ties to Cohen have prompted questions from USA lawmakers about whether AT&T sought to influence the government's independent merger review."Everything we did was done according to the law and entirely legitimate", Stephenson wrote in an email. He also said it would have a "massive effect" on the pay-TV industry itself, enabling AT&T increased leverage and control over the market and passing the resultant costs on to consumers.

Stephenson said the vetting process in Quinn's office "clearly failed" and vowed AT&T would "do better". The president has denied Ms. Clifford's claims.

It said Cohen approached AT&T in the transition period between Trump's November 2016 election and his January 2017 swearing-in.

Anti-torture protesters crash Gina Haspel's CIA Senate confirmation hearing
While Cheney might disagree, the United Nations stated in January 2017 that waterboarding indeed amounted to torture. John McCain has also called on the Senate to reject Haspel for refusing to acknowledge "torture's immorality".

These are the "insights" that AT&T previously said it hired Cohen for. 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.

Quinn took charge of AT&T's legislative affairs operation in Washington less than two years ago. Cohen did not respond to requests for comment. But AT&T said it did not meet with Avenue a second time.

Novartis also said Cohen approached them and offered his consulting services.

Federal law requires companies such as AT&T to register individuals as lobbyists if they devote at least 20 percent of their time contacting and trying to influence key government decision-makers, including the president. "They were asking him to help them get a feel on the administration and where the administration is going", said Scott Amey, general counsel for the Project on Government Oversight.

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