AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said last week that it was a mistake to hire Michael Cohen, former personal attorney for President Donald Trump, as a consultant after it was revealed the company may have paid him $600,000 previous year.
In a letter to CEO Narasimhan, Wyden challenges the hiring of Cohen, pointing out that Cohen is not a lobbyist, and that Essential Consultants is not a healthcare policy consultancy; it is, according to its claims, a real estate consulting company.
Novartis says the deal with Cohen's company, Essential Consultants, was to seek advice "as to how the Trump administration might approach certain USA healthcare policy matters, including the Affordable Care Act".
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They point out in their letter that AT&T had a "significant financial interest" in Trump administration decisions when the contract began, including its proposed merger with Time Warner, net neutrality rules, and corporate tax cuts.
Cohen is under rising scrutiny over his role in making payments to buy the silence of Stephanie Clifford, better known as Stormy Daniels, over her alleged affair with President Trump. The senators questioned the appropriateness of AT&T's dealings with Cohen, given "Mr. Cohen's lack of experience and lack of knowledge about tax reform, antitrust issues, and FCC policy", they wrote in the letter. Ford reportedly rejected Cohen's advances, and Cohen's white whale, the client that got away, was none other than Uber, which apparently decided that working with Cohen was too shady even for them. AT&T confirmed it all and said it was all a big mistake. It terminated the deal after determining in a meeting with Cohen that his firm would not be able to provide the services Novartis sought, which senators called "stunningly irresponsible" on Monday. The New York native managed to pull in at least $2.95 million from companies across various industries through his firm, Essential Consultants.
"So you wanted to know how the Trump administration works?"
"Did you, Mr. Quinn, or any other AT&T executives meet with Michael Cohen, Mr. Trump or any other executives of the Trump Organization on January 12, 2017?" the Democrats wrote.
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