Novartis CEO on Michael Cohen deal

Michael Cohen leaving federal court in New York.   Mary Altaffer  AP

Michael Cohen leaving federal court in New York. Mary Altaffer AP

It's been revealed the president's personal lawyer received a $600,000 payment from AT&T to "provide advice on the $85 billion merger" according to The Washington Post.

Novartis paid Cohen $1.2 million dollars over twelve months after Cohen pitched his services to the company early in 2017, according to spokesman Eric Althoff.

Rudy Giuliani told HuffPost on Friday that President Trump "denied" the AT&T-Time Warner merger, proof that he was not influenced by Michael Cohen after he lined up AT&T as a consulting client as the transaction was under review.

Stephenson admitted in the letter to employees that the company's "reputation has been damaged".

The failed attempt began with reports that the president's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, pitched his consultation services to the telecommunications giant AT&T after the presidential election two years ago.

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The corporate ties could suggest Cohen was peddling his influence and profiting from his relationship with the president.

"Companies often hire consultants for these purposes, especially at the beginning of a new presidential administration, and we have done so in previous administrations, as well", the company said in the email.

"I think this is all showing or highlighting some of the public's worst fears when it comes to how Washington, D.C., works and the numerous gaps in the system, and how elections and even policy are driven by those with deep pockets and those with the biggest bullpen of lobbyists", he said. "That was smart", Spaeth said. But the company would not answer questions about what specifically went wrong and whether it would enact changes in how it conducts business in Washington. "Drug prices are already out of reach for too many American families, and drug companies need to be held accountable if they are breaking the law". The deal did not permit him to lobby on AT&T's behalf without first notifying the company.

"There is certainly plenty AT&T would like to get out of the Trump administration", noted the far-left media outlet Vox, adding that AT&T is now attempting to get a $85 billion merger with Time Warner approved through the Trump administration. A federal judge is expected to rule on the proposed buy in the next couple of months.

Randall Stephenson, the AT&T CEO, has said the issue is the "elephant in the room" in the case.

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AT&T's board of directors does not hold Stephenson responsible for the lack of vetting, according to one source. It's a sum that analysts say has not been worth the money so far.

"Let this serve as formal notice - there is significantly more evidence and facts to come relating to Mr. Cohen's dealings and Mr. Trump's knowledge and involvement", Avenatti said on Twitter Friday.

Trump had voiced opposition to the merger during the campaign and his administration ultimately sided against AT&T.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating Mr. Cohen to determine whether he violated any laws in his efforts to raise cash and hide negative information about Mr. Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to people familiar with the matter.

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