Giuliani contradicts White House on AT&T merger, then backtracks

AT&T CEO calls hiring Michael Cohen for advice on Trump ‘big mistake

"Novartis believed that Michael Cohen could advise the company as to how the Trump administration might approach certain USA healthcare policy matters, including the Affordable Care Act", the company said in a statement to CNBC.

"No one seems to understand why the RNC, America Rising and other GOP groups aren't doing even basic political blocking and tackling with Avenatti", said a GOP operative to The Daily Beast.

In November the Department of Justice sued to block the merger between the telecom and media giants.

"Whatever lobbying was done didn't reach the president", Giuliani insisted to HuffPost.

AT&T paid Essential Consultants LLC, a firm set up by Cohen, a total of US$600,000 past year for advice on working with the Trump administration.

It is unclear what AT&T got from Mr. Cohen, a real-estate lawyer who worked at the Trump Organization for almost a decade.

Among those giant corporations were AT&T, which paid Cohen $600,000 to help in its bid to buy Time Warner - a bid that candidate Trump strongly condemned on the campaign trail; and Swiss drug giant Novartis, which paid Cohen $1.2 million as a "consultant" - presumably to help the company avoid the clampdown on high drug prices that Trump had pledged.

AT&T noted in the fact sheet that Cohen was among "several consultants" the company hired as Trump was assuming the presidency.

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The arguments focused on how the proposed transaction would affect competition and consumers, though AT&T also has maintained that its merger was targeted for political reasons because Mr. Trump, a Republican, dislikes the coverage he has received from Time Warner's CNN.

While Trump has been consistent about his opposition to the AT&T deal, "he didn't interfere" with the Justice Department case, Giuliani told CNN.

The letter mentioned that whereas the take care of Cohen was "executed in keeping with the regulation" and was "fully professional", the affiliation with Cohen was "a critical misjudgment". Robert Quinn, a veteran lobbyist and attorney who'd led the office, was forced out and AT&T's Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson issued a stinging rebuke.

As a result, Intrater, after consulting with Cohen, stopped making payments to Cohen about halfway through the year, the sources said. Cohen did not respond to requests for comment.

Novartis mentioned in a press release that the corporate had only one assembly with Cohen after signing the deal and finally determined to not pursue any additional engagement, however they paid him the total quantity anyway.

Before taking office Trump tried to present a more open mind, telling Axios he hadn't yet "seen the facts" and that they would be "presented to me and to the people within the government".

Essential Consultants paid US$130,000 to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, as part of an agreement that barred her from discussing an alleged sexual encounter with Trump. Trump had recently been quoted saying "I'm not supposed to be involved in the Justice Department", adding, "I'm not supposed to be doing the kinds of things I would LOVE to be doing, and I'm very frustrated by it".

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.

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