AT&T paid Trump attorney Cohen for 'insights' on administration

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CNN reported Tuesday evening that Mueller's investigators have questioned Vekselberg about payments his company's USA affiliate made to Cohen.

AT&T hired Cohen when it was looking for a way to understand the new administration after seeing him on television doing interviews to advocate for Trump, the source said.

Mirza-Reid, the Novartis spokeswoman, said Trump's meeting with Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan "was in no way related" to the payments the company had been making to Cohen for the preceding year. AT&T said, "Per your question on Mueller, we are not providing comment".

Novartis said in a statement that it struck a one-year agreement with Essential Consultants last February, shortly after Trump was sworn in as President of the United States.

Novartis first met with Mr. Cohen in March 2017. Cohen has claimed that he paid Daniels out of his own pocket, using a home-equity loan to secure the funds. In the wake of the publication, Novartis has announced that it has ended a contract with Essential Consultants, a U.S. company linked to Cohen, and has since cooperated with a special counsel investigation into alleged interference in the 2016 Presidential election. Last month the Federal Bureau of Investigation even raided Cohen's home and office, seizing papers and electronic devices. Trump said he reimbursed Cohen.

Cohen used the same shell company to pay Daniels $130,000 in the run-up to the 2016 election to keep quiet about her claims of an affair with Trump.

Adult film actress Stormy Daniels and Michael Avenatti attorney for Stormy Daniels speak to the media as they exit the United States District Court Southern District of New York for a hearing related to Michael Cohen President Trum
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"As the contract, unfortunately, could only be terminated for cause, payments continued to be made until the contract expired by its own terms in February 2018", Novartis said.

Potentially even more explosive are the payments from AT&T, Novartis, and Korea Aerospace Industries LTD, all of which have had business involving the Trump administration.

Telecom giant AT&T is trying to untangle itself from Michael Cohen's growing legal troubles. According to Avenatti, this is notable because Columbus Nova is "controlled by" Viktor Vekselberg "a Russian oligarch with an estimated net worth of almost $13 billion".

Richard Owens, a lawyer for Columbus Nova, said: "Reports today that Viktor Vekselberg used Columbus Nova as a conduit for payments to Michael Cohen are false". In fact, the same Russian oligarch who was recently stopped at an American airport and questioned by Mueller's investigators, Viktor Vekselberg. He has not been accused of any wrongdoing. The funds were sent to the bank account of the front company Essential Consultants, which Cohen created before the election and used to transfer money to Daniels in January-August previous year.

AT&T confirmed that it had payed Michael Cohen in 2017 for "insights into understanding the new administration". The four separate payments reportedly total close to $400,000.

A spokesman for the company told Reuters that it had contracted Cohen for "legal consulting concerning accounting standards". The company is in contention for a multibillion-dollar joint contract with Lockheed Martin to produce jet trainers for the U.S. Air Force.

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