Giuliani says Trump 'had no knowledge' of Cohen's corporate clients

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U.S. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen arrives at his hotel in New York City, May 9, 2018.

In that episode Trump said Giuliani would "get his facts straight". Cohen and others were hired to help navigate "a wide range of issues", including its proposed US$85 billion merger with Time Warner Inc, CEO Randall Stephenson said in a memo seen by Reuters. That would have put his consulting fee at $1.8 million for the year.

Giuliani was apparently attempting to echo comments made earlier in the day by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who sought to explain how the DOJ's position on the merger showed the White House and Trump administration could not be bought by outside influences.

Novartis said in a statement that the company had just one meeting with Cohen after signing the deal and ultimately decided not to pursue any further engagement, but they paid him the full amount anyway.

Some in Washington expressed sympathy for Bob Quinn who was ousted Friday as AT&T's senior executive vice president of external and legislative affairs.

On Friday, the former NY mayor was at it again.

It's not clear if he did anything illegal in cutting deals with AT&T, Swiss pharmaceutical firm Novartis, Korea Aerospace Industries and Columbus Nova, an investment firm tied to a Vladimir Putin-connected Russian oligarch.

Companies often hire consultants to explain the federal bureaucracy to them.

Novartis officials said Cohen approached them, as well. That means he might have information that could be of interest to the special counsel. He oversaw the contract with Cohen.

"We're not going to interfere with that here", she said. He called the hiring of Cohen a "big mistake".

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"I don't know [if AT&T] had to register him, based on what I've learned and what has come out in media reports". He denies any encounter took place.

LUCAS: So AT&T and Novartis both say that Mueller's team contacted them late a year ago about their respective agreements with Cohen.

AT&T was visited by the special investigator Robert Mueller's team six months ago to ask questions about Cohen, but it did not reveal its relationship until it was revealed for them by Daniels' attorney, Micheal Avenetti.

AT&T paid Essential Consultants LLC, a firm set up by Cohen, a total of US$600,000 (S480,000) over 2017 for the advice.

"As an example of the power structure I'm fighting, AT&T is buying Time Warner and thus CNN, a deal we will not approve in my administration because it's too much concentration of power in the hands of too few", Trump said during a speech in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in October 2016.

The judge prevented the companies from fully exploring that claim, denying their request for access to certain internal government communications.

In November the Department of Justice sued to block the merger between the telecom and media giants.

The AT&T chief also said Sr. Payments to Cohen were approved by two executives in AT&T's public affairs office in Washington. It has one of the largest lobbying operations in the capital and its political-action committee is one of the country's top corporate contributors.

Quinn's abrupt departure leaves almost 100 lobbyists working to complete an embattled merger with Time Warner, as well as to preserve gains the company made elsewhere, including in weakening federal oversight of its internet business.

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