Published: Fri, May 18, 2018

Even Uber Drew the Line at Hiring Michael Cohen

Even Uber Drew the Line at Hiring Michael Cohen

Earlier this month, Novartis announced that special counsel Robert Mueller, who was appointed a year ago to oversee an ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 USA presidential election, enquired in November about the company's outflows to Cohen.

John Oliver returned to "Last Week Tonight" on Sunday to tear into Michael Cohen, the personal attorney to President Donald Trump. The company also denied the deal had any link with Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan attending a dinner at the World Economic Forum in Davos with President Trump and 15 Europe-based industry leaders.

Novartis says the deal with Cohen's company, Essential Consultants, was to seek advice "as to how the Trump administration might approach certain US healthcare policy matters, including the Affordable Care Act". In an 11 May letter to Narasimhan, the ranking Democrat on the Senate's finance committee, Ron Wyden, expressed "deep concern" about Novartis' arrangement with Essential Consulting. Cohen's contract did not permit lobbying without first notifying AT&T, and that never occurred, Stephenson said in his letter.

President Donald Trump's longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, pitched Uber on his services following the 2016 presidential election.

Michael Cohen
Michael Cohen. Drew Angerer Getty Images

He added that "millions of dollars for access to Trump... is just weird because I naturally assumed you gained access to the president by finding a golden ticket in your MAGA hat".

The three senators have 16 questions for Stephenson about who at AT&T set up the contract with Essential Consultants, what its timeframe was, how the payments were structured and who proposed them, and how AT&T determined that Cohen "was qualified to advise on policy matters".

Was Cohen acting on his own, as a rogue attorney looking to cash in on his connections to Trump without Trump knowing anything about it? Specifically, they want to know how much AT&T paid Cohen's firm, as well as, which executives were involved in hiring Michael Cohen, and what the decision-making process was like in vetting Cohen's qualifications for the job he was hired to do.

The senator has requested copies of the contract and statement of work between Novartis and Cohen, Essential Consultants, and any other companies linked with Cohen.

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