Published: Sat, May 12, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Here's the Charlotte connection to payments made to Donald Trump's attorney

Here's the Charlotte connection to payments made to Donald Trump's attorney

The watchdog group Public Citizen on Thursday filed complaints with Congress and the Justice Department, saying the NY attorney broke federal ethics and lobbying laws by failing to register as a lobbyist while collecting big sums from companies with business before the Trump administration.

Though the company initially admitted to paying Cohen $200,000, Stephenson's memo says they gave Cohen $50,000 per month, or $600,000 total, to "help us understand how the president and his administration might approach a wide range of policy issues important to the company, including regulatory reform at the FCC, tax reform, and antitrust enforcement, specifically our Time Warner deal".

Payments to Cohen from AT&T and Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis AG, among others, show how even companies with robust lobbying operations sought knowledgeable insiders to glean insight into Trump's Washington - using backdoor channels that may not be illegal, but have now drawn the special counsel's scrutiny. "So they decided not to really engage Cohen for any activities after that", the employee continued.

Cohen drew up the agreement, complete with fake names for Trump and Daniels, and paid the money using a shell company he registered in DE just days earlier.

"Everything we did was done according to the law and entirely legitimate", he wrote. But, he added, "the fact is, our past association with Cohen was a serious misjudgment".

AT&T's head lobbyist, Bob Quinn, who oversaw the hiring of Cohen, is retiring, according to the memo.

Payments to the companies "may well have been used to influence the president of the United States, using Michael Cohen and his shell company as a conduit", Senator Richard Blumenthal said at a news conference.

Shares of AT&T rose 1.2 percent to $32.25.

As the Inquisitr noted today, Trump lawyer's dealings with the telecommunications titan were first revealed by former the adult film actress Stephanie Clifford's (professionally known as Stormy Daniels) attorney Michael Avenatti. A day earlier, the drug company said it had paid $1.2 million to a firm led by Cohen, who is at the center of a US law enforcement probe, as well as a civil lawsuit related to payments to an exotic dancer. Time Warner is the parent company of frequent Trump target CNN, and the Trump administration opposes the merger.

The domains, which include, and, were created in August 2016 during the presidential campaign season.

One has to wonder: Might the news that president Hillary Clinton's lawyer had collected almost $3 million from multinational corporations looking to influence her White House, including one whose merger she'd threaten to veto because their subsidiary's news coverage wasn't liberal enough - and did so, specifically by making a "consulting firm" out of the limited liability corporation that he had used in October 2016 to buy Ron Jeremy's silence about his history with Hillary - be covered somewhat differently? The White House seems to have granted hundreds of ethics waivers to lobbyists who are now working in the administration.

According to the document, AT&T made four payments of $50,000 each between October 3 of a year ago and January 3 to Essential Consultants.

Investigators for Robert Mueller, the special counsel examining Russian interference in the 2016 election, have interviewed Vekselberg and Intrater, but there are no indications that either is suspected of wrongdoing, the Times reported.

He wants to have Avenatti's pro hac vice application denied - which would prevent the California lawyer from being able to argue in a NY court.

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