On Tuesday The News Blender covered the document drop via tweet that added a new twist to the already twisted story around one Michael Cohen.
The document drop featured bank records of a shell company, Essential Consultants, LLC, presented to the public by Stephanie Clifford’s aka Stormy Daniels, attorney Michael Avenatti.
The documents listed consultant fees paid to Michael Cohen the sole owner of Essential Consultants LLC, from just prior to the 2016 presidential election to earlier this year, while he may or may not have been President Trump’s personal attorney.
Within a few hours, three companies listed as having hired Michael Cohen, confirmed that they had indeed hired Michael Cohen, one such company is the nations second largest cell phone provider, AT&T.
On Tuesday they issued a statement.
BREAKING: @ATT confirms payments to Cohen LLC >>
Full Stmt: “Essential Consulting was one of several firms we engaged in early 2017 to provide insights into understanding the new administration. They did no legal or lobbying work for us, and the contract ended in December 2017”
— Christina Wilkie (@christinawilkie) May 8, 2018
On Wednesday AT&T issued a statement obtained by The Hill the company confirms they had been contacted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office:
“When we were contacted by the Special Counsel’s office regarding Michael Cohen, we cooperated fully, providing all information requested in November and December of 2017,” an AT&T spokesperson said.
On Thursday, The Washington Post reported that internal documents show the telecom giant entered into the contract, just 3 days after President Trump took office.
The internal Documents, show Cohen was paid $600,000 dollars to help with legislative policy development, regulatory policy development, corporate tax reform, and mergers and acquisitions.
AT&T attempted to merge with Time-Warner, a merger that requires the approval of federal antitrust regulators. Opposed to this 85 billion dollar merger was/is President Trump, the DOJ, filed suit, shortly after President Trump took office, a judge is scheduled to rule, in June, on whether the merger can go through.
On Friday AT&T is making news again, according to CNBC an internal memo to AT&T’s employees states that EO Randall Stephenson says hiring Michael Cohen was a big mistake. The memo goes on to say that everything they did was done according to the law and entirely legitimate, but that hiring Cohen showed “misjudgement.”
In the same apology to his employees, Stephenson announced that Bob Quinn, senior vice president external and legal affairs will be retiring.
Full Memo via CNBC:
All AT&T employees worldwide Team, Our company has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons these last few days and our reputation has been damaged. There is no other way to say it – AT&T hiring Michael Cohen as a political consultant was a big mistake.
To be clear, everything we did was done according to the law and entirely legitimate. But the fact is, our past association with Cohen was a serious misjudgment. In this instance, our Washington D.C. team’s vetting process clearly failed, and I take responsibility for that.
Here is more information on this issue, if you’re interested. For the foreseeable future, the External & Legislative Affairs (E&LA) group will report to our General Counsel David McAtee. Bob Quinn, Senior Executive Vice President – E&LA, will be retiring. David’s number one priority is to ensure every one of the individuals and firms we use in the political arena are people who share our high standards and who we would be proud to have associated with AT&T.
To all of you who work tirelessly every day to serve customers and represent the brand proudly, thank you. My personal commitment to you is – we will do better.
For the record, it has been widely reported that the US Treasury department is investigating how Daniels Attorney Michael Avenatti obtained the bank records.