It seems as if there is no end to Michael Cohen’s woes as it has now emerged he sold access to President Donald Trump, in an attempt to roll in cash for his shell company.
In the days leading up to Trump’s presidency, Cohen set up Essential Consultants LLC, a shell firm that later paid Stormy Daniels hush money in order to keep mum on her alleged affair with then-presidential candidate Trump.
However, recent reports revealed the companies dolling in cash for Cohen’s firm were major corporations, including Korea Aerospace Industries, the pharmaceutical company Novartis and AT&T, but the reason why these companies chose to pay Cohen remains unclear.
Apart from these companies, Cohen’s firm also received money from a troubling source, Columbus Nova, a New York investment firm with close ties to billionaire Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg.
Although the companies have cited various reasons for their payments, an insider from one of the firms has reportedly said, Cohen promised access to the president and his administration, posing as a “lobbyist.”
AT&T circulated an internal memo after allegations against Cohen made the rounds on the news, explaining their role in the payment to Trump’s former lawyer.
They said they wanted to “understand” the Trump administration and maintained what they did was standard procedure with a new government.
“Companies often hire consultants for these purposes, especially at the beginning of a new Presidential Administration, and we have done so in previous Administrations, as well,” the memo stated.
Another question that surfaced with these allegations against Cohen: How did these companies get in touch with the president’s lawyer at the time? According to a Novartis employee, Cohen reached out to them.
But according to a 2017 statement, after the company’s first meeting with Cohen in March, he did not meet the claims made regarding access.
“Following this initial meeting,” the statement read, “Novartis determined that Michael Cohen and Essential Consultants would be unable to provide the services that Novartis had anticipated related to US healthcare policy matters and the decision was taken not to engage further.”
Trump’s latest addition to his legal team, Rudy Giuliani, claimed these revelations about Cohen have nothing to do with the president, even though it could very well be that the money from Columbus Nova may have been used to pay Daniels.
“There’s not involvement of the president in any of that,” he said. “We can’t be responsible for what Michael Cohen is doing.”
Thumbnail / Banner : REUTERS / Brendan McDermid