AT&T CEO: Hiring Trump lawyer Michael Cohen was 'a big mistake'

AT&T CEO: Hiring Trump lawyer Michael Cohen was 'a big mistake'

Giuliani said he was trying to say that AT&T's payments to Cohen didn't sway Trump's personal point of view about the deal.

"There is no other way to say it - AT&T hiring Michael Cohen as a political consultant was a big mistake", Stephenson said in a memo to employees.

Rudy Giuliani speaks at the Conference on Iran in Washington, D.C., on May 5, 2018.

It did not hire Cohen to lobby on its behalf, AT&T said, adding that his one-year contract at US$50,000 per month, ran from January through December last year and was limited to consulting and advisory services. "This is actually the definition of 'draining the swamp, '" she said Friday, directing other questions to the president's outside counsel.

However, Giuliani said he believes Cohen does not deserve the criticism he is taking from some in the media and in political circles.

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. "I think it's pretty clear the Department of Justice opposed the merger, so the president or his administration hasn't been influenced by any outside special interest".

AT&T's chief executive said Friday his company made a "serious misjudgment" to seek advice from President Donald Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen, and announced that its top lobbying executive in Washington would be leaving the firm.

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On Friday, Giuliani told the Huffington Post that "Trump denied the merger [between AT&T and Time Warner]". "They were asking him to help them get a feel on the administration and where the administration is going", said Scott Amey, general counsel for the Project on Government Oversight.

The payments were made to Essential Consultants, a company created by Cohen one month before the 2016 US presidential election. It would be one of the biggest media deals ever if approved.

"The president wasn't aware that [Cohen] had gotten money for it", he said.

Under AT&T's rules, Quinn had significant leeway to approve the Cohen contract because its $600,000 price tag did not trigger oversight from more senior executives, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal company practices. Trump has been vocal in his disdain for CNN's coverage of his administration. "They're paying a price, but they're doing the right thing".

They were wrong. In November, the DOJ went to court to block the deal, alleging that the combination of the two companies would give AT&T too much power in the marketplace. So did AT&T and Time Warner.

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".

Closing arguments were made in the AT&T-Time Warner case last month, and Judge Richard Leon said he will present a decision on June 12.

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