Exclusive: AT&T CEO says Cohen payments 'big mistake,' chief lobbyist retiring




  • In Business/Economy
  • 2018-05-11 13:38:32Z
  • By By Jessica Toonkel and David Shepardson
 

By Jessica Toonkel and David Shepardson

(Reuters) - Hiring President Donald Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, was a "big mistake," AT&T Inc <T.N> Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson said in an employee memo, reviewed by Reuters, that went out Friday morning.

AT&T's head lobbyist, Bob Quinn, who oversaw the hiring of Cohen, is retiring, according to the memo.

AT&T said on Tuesday it had hired Essential Consultants LLC, a company used by Cohen, to advise it on working with the new administration in early 2017, around the time of Trump's inauguration.

The disclosure of AT&T's relationship with Cohen has turned into a major embarrassment for the telecommunications company as it awaits a U.S. judge's June 12 decision on whether it can go through with an $85 billion deal to buy Time Warner Inc. <TWX.N>

The deal, which was announced in October 2016, was quickly denounced by Trump, who has been sharply critical of CNN, a unit of Time Warner.

"To be clear, everything we did was done according to the law and entirely legitimate," Stephenson wrote in the memo. "But the fact is our past association with Cohen was a serious misjudgment."

AT&T did not hire Cohen to lobby on behalf of the company, according to the memo. The one-year contract at $50,000 per month, from January through December 2017, was limited to consulting and advisory services, according to the memo.

AT&T never asked Cohen to set up meetings for the company with anyone in the Trump administration, and he did not offer to do so, according to the memo.

AT&T's board of directors does not hold Stephenson responsible for the lack of vetting, according to a source familiar with the situation.

The AT&T payments were revealed by Michael Avenatti, adult film actress Stormy Daniels' lawyer, who also said a company owned by Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg and other corporations paid Essential Consultants for certain services.

Essential Consultants paid $130,000 to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, days before the 2016 presidential election as part of a nondisclosure agreement that barred her from discussing an alleged sexual encounter with Trump. He denies any encounter took place.

Shares of AT&T were 0.4 percent higher in premarket trading.


(Reporting by Jessica Toonkel in New York and David Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

COMMENTS

More Related News

If Omarosa Did Sign An NDA, Trump Might've Broken The Law
If Omarosa Did Sign An NDA, Trump Might've Broken The Law

The White House may have broken the law and President Donald Trump just

Night of firsts as Democrats pick diverse slate of nominees
Night of firsts as Democrats pick diverse slate of nominees

In a night of firsts, Democrats in Vermont's primary chose the nation's first transgender gubernatorial nominee. In Minnesota, they picked a woman who would be the first Somali-American member of Congress. Connecticut Democrats nominated a candidate who could become the first black woman from

Donald Trump Sparks Outrage After Calling Omarosa A 'Dog'
Donald Trump Sparks Outrage After Calling Omarosa A 'Dog'

President Donald Trump faced backlash Tuesday morning after he called his

Trump
Trump's Harley boycott call roils Wisconsin primary

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson both came out Monday against boycotting Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson, the day after President Donald Trump said it would be "great" if there was a boycott. Trump's Sunday tweet forced Walker and other Republicans

Security experts, Trump allies alarmed by Omarosa recordings
Security experts, Trump allies alarmed by Omarosa recordings

Former presidential adviser Omarosa Manigault Newman is drawing fire from President Donald Trump's allies and national security experts for secret recordings she made at the White House, including her firing by chief of staff John Kelly in the high-security Situation Room. Manigault Newman said

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Economy

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.