AT&T has finally admitted that hiring Michael Cohen was a “big mistake.” AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said this in a memo sent to employees on Friday morning last week. The memo also revealed that AT&T’s head lobbyist Bob Quinn will be retiring. Quinn oversaw the hiring of Cohen in the company.
The telecoms giant confirmed that it had in fact hired a company called Essential Consultants. The company was used by Cohen and would advise AT&T on how to work with the new Trump administration in the first few months of 2017. Essential Consultants is the same company accused of paying off $130,000 to Stormy Daniels days before the 2016 election. The former adult actress claims that she has had an affair with Donald Trump. The payment was supposedly made to prevent her from coming forward about the matter.
Essential Consultants has also been linked to payments from a Russian oligarch. It’s not known what the Russian payments were about but they were for some sort of service offered by Cohen. The revelations come in the middle of a highly divisive investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller on possible Russian meddling in the US election.
The disclosure that Cohen was working with AT&T came as a huge embarrassment for the company. The news also came amidst a major legal battle for AT&T. The company’s decision to acquire Time Warner has been delayed by the federal government because of antitrust issues. AT&T is currently awaiting a decision by a federal judge on whether the deal will go through.
AT&T is looking to purchase Time Warner for $85 billion. President Trump himself has announced open opposition to the deal. The President has also been a sharp critic of CNN, a unit of Time Warner. There have been suggestions that the White House could be pulling strings behind the scenes to veto the AT&T proposed takeover of Time Warner. However, these allegations have not been confirmed.
The memo written by Stephenson said that even though the hiring of Cohen was done according to the law, the move was a “misjudgment” on the company’s part. AT&T also denied that Cohen had been hired to lobby on company’s behalf. The company instead said that Trump’s lawyer was hired on a one year contract for consulting and advisory services only. Cohen was being paid $50,000 a month.
AT&T admitted that it has been making news lately for all the wrong reasons. The deal between the telecoms giant and Michael Cohen was revealed by Michael Avenatti, the lawyer representing Stormy Daniels in a lawsuit against Cohen. Cohen is also under federal investigation for other unknown reasons. The FBI raided his offices last month in a move that was sharply criticized by President Trump.