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AT&T confirms it paid Trump lawyer Michael Cohen's company

AT&T confirmed Tuesday evening that it paid President Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen in 2017 for "insights int...

Posted: May 9, 2018 10:43 AM
Updated: May 9, 2018 10:43 AM

AT&T confirmed Tuesday evening that it paid President Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen in 2017 for "insights into understanding the new administration."

The payments were revealed in a document published by Stormy Daniels' attorney Michael Avenatti Tuesday afternoon.

Avenatti alleged that Essential Consultants, a shell company set up by Cohen before the election to pay Daniels, was paid by several corporations, including AT&T. At the time, AT&T was seeking government approval for its acquisition of Time Warner, CNN's parent company.

A document released by Avenatti stated that "Essential received $200,000 in four separate payments of $50,000 in late 2017 and early 2018 from AT&T."

AT&T disputed this timeline.

"Essential Consulting was one of several firms we engaged in early 2017 to provide insights into understanding the new administration," AT&T said Tuesday evening. "They did no legal or lobbying work for us, and the contract ended in December 2017."

Related: Exclusive: Mueller's team questions Russian oligarch about payments to Cohen

AT&T's assertion, in essence, is that Cohen provided information about what made Trump tick.

Selling access to or influence with a president is not illegal, but it has the whiff of the so-called "swamp" that Trump rails against.

AT&T declined to comment on the total amount of the payments. But a source with knowledge of the matter said the total was actually higher than the $200,000 listed by Avenatti.

AT&T, one of the biggest companies in the country, has numerous issues before the government, including valuable government contracts and changes to so-called "net neutrality" regulations.

But the timing of payments to a Trump lawyer is especially significant because of the AT&T-Time Warner deal.

Trump, then the GOP nominee for president, expressed opposition to the $85 billion deal on the day it was announced.

When Trump won the election, there were immediate questions about whether the deal would be blocked by the Trump administration's Justice Department.

After a year-long review process, the DOJ sued to block the deal last November, saying it would violate antitrust law by harming competition and leading to an increase in prices paid by consumers. AT&T and Time Warner deny that the purchase would causes television prices to go up, and say they need the deal to better compete with the likes of Facebook, Google, Amazon and Netflix.

The payments to Cohen stopped in December, according to AT&T. At the time, pre-trial status conferences were getting started.

Politics initially looked likely to be a major theme of the trial. Citing Trump's animus toward CNN, AT&T and Time Warner claimed his Justice Department was selectively enforcing antitrust law. (The Justice Department has denied this.) But AT&T and Time Warner did not produce evidence of this, and after the judge hearing the case, Richard Leon, blocked discovery on certain communications from the White House that attorneys for AT&T and Time Warner attorneys had sought, the companies dropped that argument. Trump's feelings about CNN and the deal were never mentioned during the trial.

AT&T declined to comment beyond its statement. A Justice Department spokesperson also declined to comment.

The trial began in March and wrapped at the end of April. Leon is expected to issue his decision on June 12, though he has said it could come earlier.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 91422

Reported Deaths: 2031
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin26147923
Ramsey10595318
Dakota7250125
Anoka5836132
Stearns383324
Washington362755
Scott247333
Olmsted232927
Nobles193816
Blue Earth16166
Wright15497
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Mower13015
Clay128840
Sherburne110914
Kandiyohi9362
Winona85318
Lyon6554
Waseca5508
Freeborn5263
Steele5262
Benton5173
Nicollet51316
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Todd4812
Chisago4621
McLeod4612
Le Sueur4464
Crow Wing44418
Otter Tail4024
Beltrami3805
Martin34310
Goodhue3409
Itasca28913
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Polk2774
Isanti2680
Douglas2672
Becker2512
Carlton2461
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Rock1590
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Cass1343
Faribault1330
Swift1231
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Fillmore1100
Koochiching1103
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Pope890
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Aitkin761
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Wilkin573
Lake560
Norman520
Marshall501
Lac qui Parle471
Mahnomen461
Red Lake381
Traverse300
Clearwater260
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Kittson120
Cook60

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 81296

Reported Deaths: 1284
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk15404259
Woodbury506463
Johnson502827
Black Hawk439688
Linn3832108
Story334017
Dubuque289141
Scott283528
Dallas270038
Pottawattamie200638
Buena Vista195512
Marshall176434
Sioux14163
Wapello128057
Webster120914
Clinton108020
Muscatine107854
Plymouth106220
Crawford10215
Cerro Gordo100721
Warren9396
Jasper78332
Des Moines7477
Marion7345
Tama69531
Carroll6445
Henry6314
Lee6097
Wright5651
Dickinson4876
Boone4808
Bremer4717
Washington44011
Louisa42615
Mahaska35819
Delaware3493
Franklin34418
Hamilton3173
Jackson3103
Floyd3063
Winneshiek3045
Clay3014
Benton2921
Hardin2851
Winnebago27813
Lyon2694
Butler2632
Clarke2613
Poweshiek2588
Buchanan2551
Emmet25310
Allamakee2516
Jones2513
Shelby2501
Clayton2383
Kossuth2370
Guthrie2315
Cedar2261
Chickasaw2250
Sac2220
Cherokee2122
Grundy2103
Madison2072
Fayette2032
Iowa1931
Harrison1892
Howard1836
Mitchell1830
Humboldt1773
Calhoun1762
Hancock1762
Mills1681
Palo Alto1650
Pocahontas1542
Lucas1536
Monroe15110
Monona1421
Page1420
Cass1392
Osceola1390
Jefferson1341
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Taylor1251
Union1233
Davis1184
Van Buren1111
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Keokuk951
Greene940
Fremont900
Montgomery905
Wayne842
Audubon701
Adair681
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Adams290
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