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AT&T: Cohen hiring a 'big mistake'

13 May 2018
AT&T: Cohen hiring a 'big mistake'

Randall Stephenson, the AT&T CEO, has said the issue is the "elephant in the room" in the case.

Rudy Giuliani speaks at the Conference on Iran in Washington, D.C., on May 5, 2018. That holding company, in turn, received millions in funding from various contributors-including AT&T which was, and still is, seeking regulatory approval for its merger with Time Warner.

Rudy Giuliani, one of President Donald Trump's attorneys, says he is "quite certain" the president did not know Michael Cohen was trying to sell his insight into the president.

Rudy Giuliani, who was hired by the White House to help defend the special counsel's probe against President Donald Trump, is yet again backtracking on comments unrelated to the Russian Federation investigation that go against previous White House statements. It was through Essential Consultants that AT&T retained Cohen.

While Trump has been consistent about his opposition to the AT&T deal, "he didn't interfere" with the Justice Department case, Giuliani told CNN.

And Kellyanne Conway, in an appearance on CNN in November before the DOJ sued to stop the merger, admonished interviewer Brian Stelter not to "throw all that poison out to your viewers" when he asked if the president had involvement in what was then the decision-making process over whether to sue.

In an interview with HuffPost, Giuliani implied that Trump personally intervened to block the merger between Time Warner and AT&T, which the White House has vociferously denied.

Tasos Katopodis via Getty Images
Tasos Katopodis via Getty Images

According to Giuliani, what he was trying to say was that the $600,000 payment AT&T made to Michael Cohen's LLC did not sway Trump to act in the corporation's favor.

"Whatever lobbying was done didn't reach the president". The consulting fee went through a shell company Cohen also used to pay hush money to Daniels over her alleged affair with Trump. "They didn't get the result they wanted".

"People should recognize that he [Quinn] came to recognize it was a misjudgment - witness the fact a year ago that he terminated the contract, got out of it as fast as he could, and that's a point that's not being written right now as people pile on", the person said.

His comments about AT&T are notable because a political cloud has been hanging over the deal since day one.

AT&T and Time Warner had suggested before the trial that the Justice Department's decision to block a merger of two companies that do not compete was influenced by presidential politics.

Quinn was promoted to replace AT&T's longtime head of lobbying, James Cicconi, just before the company announced its merger with Time Warner. Trump has been vocal in his disdain for CNN's coverage of his administration. By October, they thought the thumbs-up was right around the corner. But the company would not answer questions about what specifically went wrong and whether it would enact changes in how it conducts business in Washington.

Before taking office Trump tried to present a more open mind, telling Axios he hadn't yet "seen the facts" and that they would be "presented to me and to the people within the government".