Published: Sat, May 12, 2018
Business | By Pearl Harrison

Giuliani says Trump 'denied' the AT&T-Time Warner deal, then backtracks

Giuliani says Trump 'denied' the AT&T-Time Warner deal, then backtracks

Randall Stephenson, the chief executive officer of AT&T, wrote in a company-wide letter to staff on Friday that the telecom giant made "a serious misjudgment" in its decision to hire President Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen as a consultant past year.

"There is certainly plenty AT&T would like to get out of the Trump administration", noted the far-left media outlet Vox, adding that AT&T is now attempting to get a $85 billion merger with Time Warner approved through the Trump administration.

Rudy Giuliani lashed out at Stormy Daniels and her attorney Friday afternoon, suggesting the adult film actress with whom President Donald Trump allegedly had an affair is a prostitute. The president has denied Daniels' claims.

Three days after Trump was sworn into office, the telecommunications company turned to Cohen for help on a wide portfolio of issues pending before the federal government - including the Time Warner merger, according to documents The Post obtained. Within Time Warner this week, officials were surprised to learn about the contract with Essentials Consulting.

Drugmaker Novartis on Wednesday said it had a US$1.2 million contract with Cohen's firm, but soon realized the agreement was a mistake.

In a fact sheet that accompanied the memo, AT&T said Cohen approached them about working on their behalf in the post-election transition.

Cohen's payments from companies while acting as a personal lawyer to the president may raise legal issues besides whether the consulting work constituted lobbying.

The Justice Department is seeking to block AT&T's $85 billion purchase of Time Warner on the grounds that it would stifle competition. But like the rest of the nation's capital, it was caught on the outside looking in by Donald Trump's election triumph.

Quinn was promoted to replace AT&T's longtime head of lobbying, James Cicconi, just before the company announced its merger with Time Warner.

The company said it was contacted by investigators with special counsel Robert Mueller and provided "all information requested in November and December of 2017". "Quinn stepping down is not going to cripple AT&T", said Feld.

Novartis said this week it had also spoken with Mueller's team about the payments to Cohen.

A Novartis spokesman said the company anticipated Wyden's letter and plans to fully cooperate.

"I think it's pretty clear, the Department of Justice opposed the [AT&T/Time Warner] merger, and so certainly the president has not been influenced, or his administration influenced, by any outside special interest", Sanders beamed.

"The conversation focused on how AT&T can work with the Trump administration to increase investment in the USA, stimulate job creation in America, and make American companies more competitive globally", the company said. But there were persistent questions about possible political interference, especially in light of the president's well-publicized disdain for both CNN and attorney general Jeff Sessions. Months earlier, Trump had come out strongly against the proposed merger with Time Warner, which owns CNN - a network he often berates as "fake news".

Leon is expected to deliver an opinion on the case by June 12.

Information for this article was contributed by The Associated Press.

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