Attorney Michael Cohen's simultaneous relationship with Donald Trump and several blue chip companies that paid him for insight into the new president strikes legal experts as unusual and has triggered questions about client confidentiality.
The challenge before Quinn became clear during the campaign when Trump began raising objections to AT&T's proposed $85.4 billion purchase of Time Warner Inc. - a deal his Justice Department would go on to oppose in a lawsuit that's set to be decided in June.
But whether or not Cohen was successful in his brief, acrimonious stint as a "political consultant" ignores the issues of whether or not Cohen was attempting to peddle influence within the White House, as well as whether Cohen's $130,000 payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels potentially violated campaign finance laws. Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani told Bloomberg News that Trump was "unaware" of the payments to Cohen; Vice President Mike Pence told NBC News it was a "private matter" and "something I don't have any knowledge about".
He was correct. previous year his administration sued to block AT&T's merger with Time Warner.
A "scope of work" describing Cohen's contract in an internal AT&T document shows that he was hired to "focus on specific long-term planning initiatives as well as the immediate issue of corporate tax reform and the acquisition of Time Warner".
The telecommunications company said that it was approached by researchers with Mueller and offered "all info asked in November and December of 20 17".
"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.
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At the time, AT&T said that Stephenson had "a very good meeting" with Trump but that the Time Warner merger "was not a topic of discussion". Quinn, who began working at AT&T in the 1980s, is well connected in the political circles of both parties.
The lobbying group will, for now, report to General Counsel David McAtee.
The office of Robert Mueller, special counsel in the Russian Federation probe, asked Ford about the matter past year and it was unclear if it had made any recent inquiries, the person said. But AT&T said it did not meet with Avenue a second time.
Avenatti said he was aware of four months of payments to Cohen totaling $200,000.
In a fact sheet sent to employees Friday along with Stephenson's letter, the company said that Cohen approached AT&T during the transition period following President Trump's election "and said he was going to leave the Trump Organization and do consulting for a select few companies that wanted his opinion on the new President and his administration - the key players, their priorities, and how they think". Trump has been vocal in his disdain for CNN's coverage of his administration. Trump repeatedly has bashed CNN, a unit of Time Warner.
But Judge Richard J. Leon of U.S. District Court in Washington has been strict about keeping politics out of the case, which focuses on antitrust law and whether the deal would violate competition policy and harm consumers.
The Associated Press contributed to this record.