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AT&T CEO Laments Cohen Affiliation: 'Big Mistake'

AT&T CEO Laments Cohen Affiliation: 'Big Mistake'

AT&T ousted its top lobbyist on Friday, and the wireless carrier's CEO said in a memo it was "big mistake" to hire Michael Cohen, U.S. President Donald Trump's personal attorney, for advice on working with the Trump administration.

Stephenson admitted in the letter to employees that the company's "reputation has been damaged". At the same time that he was collecting $50,000 a month from AT&T, Cohen was being paid large sums to advise other companies on a broad variety of issues, including the Affordable Care Act, accounting practices and real estate. Avenatti is representing Stephanie Clifford, the porn actress known as Stormy Daniels, who was paid $130,000 by Cohen just before the 2016 presidential election not to discuss an alleged tryst with Trump. The president has denied Daniels' claims. "There is no other way to say it - AT&T hiring Michael Cohen as a political consultant was a big mistake". Ron Wyden of OR, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, who sent a separate letter Friday to Cohen regarding the payments from Novartis to his shell company Essential Consultants.

Pressed on how corporate shelling out to the president's private lawyer, specifically for insights into the president constituted "draining the swamp", Sanders referred to this planned merger involving AT&T and also TimeWarner which has been contrasted in a lawsuit by Trump's Justice Department at November. AT&T's ties to Cohen have prompted questions from USA lawmakers about whether AT&T sought to influence the government's independent merger review."Everything we did was done according to the law and entirely legitimate", Stephenson wrote in an email. In addition to an eye-popping $7 billion breakup fee AT&T had to pay T-Mobile in the form of cash and airwaves, Stephenson's pay that year was docked $2 million for failing to complete the deal. Nonetheless, Mr. Stephenson also added that retaining Mr. Cohen "was a serious misjudgment".

AT&T also said, "we didn't ask him to set up any meetings for us with anyone in the administration and he didn't offer to do so".

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Stephenson said the vetting process in Quinn's office "clearly failed" and vowed AT&T would "do better".

Cohen is now under criminal investigation in Manhattan, and Stephenson said the company cooperated fully with Special Counsel Robert Mueller when the investigator came calling in November and December of a year ago.

Cecilia Kang is a New York Times writer. "Certainly the president has not been influenced by any, or his administration influenced by, any outside special interests".

Rudolph W. Giuliani, a lawyer for Trump, said Wednesday that the president was unaware of Cohen's consulting agreements.


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