AT&T chief lobbyist out after hiring Trump attorney Michael Cohen

Anna Jefferson
May 12, 2018

Brian Fung and Tony Romm, The Washington Post •.

"Our company has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons these last few days, and our reputation has been damaged", Stephenson wrote in a memo to employees.

"There is no other way to say it - AT&T hiring Michael Cohen as a political consultant was a big mistake", Stephenson's memo to employees said.

The email comes at a critical time for AT&T. The Justice Department filed suit previous year seeking to block the deal, and a judge is expected to rule on the matter in June.

The subject was AT&T's $85 billion bid for Time Warner, the parent company of CNN.

The resulting contract - at $50,000 per month, from January through December 2017 - "was expressly limited to providing consulting and advisory services", according to the fact sheet.

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.

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But it was a clumsy effort in 2017 to find a foothold in Trump's new Washington that inadvertently pulled it into a sordid scandal involving hush money paid by the president's lawyer to a porn star. "It might grow to become good or bad", Giuliani explained.

An attempt by the mainstream media to expose President Donald Trump as a member of the "swamp" backfired epically this week after he, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders and his legal team turned the tables on them and exposed their swampy lies. "Such a disgrace in reporting!" So when he took office, there were concerns within AT&T and Time Warner that he or his aides would try to block the deal.

"The president had no comprehension of it", Giuliani claimed, in a meeting with the Huffington submit.

"Following this initial meeting, Novartis determined that Michael Cohen and Essential Consultants would be unable to provide the services that Novartis had anticipated related to U.S. healthcare policy matters and the decision was taken not to engage further", the statement said. Nonetheless, Stephenson added, retaining Cohen "was a serious misjudgment".

AT&T's board of directors does not hold Stephenson responsible for the lack of vetting, according to one source.

Last week, Mr. Trump said he would "love" to be interviewed by Mueller, but only if he's "treated fairly". "Quinn stepping down is not going to cripple AT&T", said Feld.

But although the two men arrived within minutes of each other, they did not meet that day and have never met, AT&T said this week. "We met with them once, and decided not to use them".

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Instead, the telecom giant moved ahead with Cohen.

Federal prosecutors are investigating Cohen's business dealings, including a $130,000 payment he made to pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels, as part of a deal to buy her silence about an affair she says she had with Trump. Once brought to light, the company apologized and then ousted its lobbying head.

And if anything, AT&T now regrets its decision to ever contract Cohen. Both companies said they cooperated fully and consider the matters closed, but that hasn't stopped Avenatti.

Stephenson said Quinn plans to retire, but people familiar with the matter told the Journal that the policy chief was forced to leave. "But that's factually accurate and it ought to carry more weight in this situation".

AT&T was one of multiple companies Cohen approached after the election. He took over the top job in Washington right before Trump's election.

Quinn, a lawyer who joined the company in 1993 and obtained on its Washington office at October 20-16, didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

"I don't know [if AT&T] had to register him, based on what I've learned and what has come out in media reports".

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