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Monday, May 14, 2018

Donald Trump lawyer surrounded by new accusations

Por Rory

The saga about the personal lawyer of Donald Trump takes a new drift. A.T. and T., which is trying to save the merger with conglomerate Time Warner in court, confirms that it paid Michael Cohen for its consulting services. The corporation, it explains, was looking for "ideas to understand" the policies of the new Administration and to know how the tycoon makes decisions. The company does not specify how much money it paid to Cohen through the company Essential Consultants, the same he used to pay for the silence of porn actress Stormy Daniels about a supposed sexual encounter. "It is one of the many firms we contacted at the beginning of 2017 to know how he thinks about the big political issues important to the company," it says, "such as the reform of communications, the tax and the application of the laws competition." "He did not do lobby work for us," notes the company.

The consulting contract ended in December, Daniels' attorney, who last night published a document detailing transactions worth $ 4.3 million dollars to Cohen's company, calculates that AT & T disbursed $ 200,000 in four payments. The Wall Street Journal and the Reuters report an amount close to $ 600,000 dollars. Confirmation of AT&T's payment to Trump's personal attorney came after Avenatti released a document detailing transfers to and from Cohen's bank account.

The document also quotes Novartis, who between March 2017 and February 2018 paid $ 100,000 per month to Trump's personal lawyer for his services. The European pharmaceutical company points out that this contract was signed with the previous CEO. It was allowed to expire because Cohen did not have the necessary experience to guide them on the policies that were being prepared in the field of health, including the reform of the affordable health insurance system Obamacare.

They also deny that it had anything to do with the dinner that President Donald Trump offered at the Davos Economic Forum to a dozen European business leaders, among whom Novartis was represented by its chief executive. The other corporation cited in the documents is Korea Aerospace Industries, which made an outlay to Essential Consultants of $ 150,000 for its information. The Korean aircraft manufacturer was seeking advice on accounting standards in the US, because it intended to sell in the country. They insist that everything in the contract was legal. The three corporations appear alongside the Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg of Renova Group, which has just been included in the list of Treasury sanctions for interference in the 2016 presidential elections.

Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal called for hearings on the company's payments to the Cohen-run firm, which he said "could have been used to influence the president of the United States, using Michael Cohen and his fictitious company as a conduit." White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, at a regular press conference, referred questions about the payments reported to Trump's external advisor. When asked if Trump had taken any action to benefit Novartis, AT & T or South Korea's KAI, Sanders said: "Not that I know." In television interviews with ABC News and MSNBC, Avenatti declined to say how he got information about the payments. Cohen said a report published by the Avenatti law firm detailing the payments was inaccurate. Avenatti said bank records of company payments should be disclosed to Cohen's firm and the amounts transferred by Columbus Nova, a New York-based investment company linked to Russian businessman Viktor Vekselberg.

Although these payments are not initially unlawful, Stormy Daniels' attorney believes that the use of this consultancy could be in violation of banking and electoral legislation. He thinks that he was "selling" access to the president. The purpose of the actress' legal representative is that these documents be used in the ongoing investigation against Michael Cohen. Cohen, 51, is already under criminal investigation and came under the spotlight primarily for buying the silence of Stormy Daniels, the porn star who claims to have had an affair with Trump. It is known that the FBI has him in its sights in the framework of investigations conducted by special prosecutor Robert Mueller on Russian political interference, but the precise reasons for this interest are ignored.

The lawyer's office in New York was raided in April and the police seized there abundant documentation possibly linked to the payment to Stormy Daniels revealed by the lawyer of the actress, Michael Avenatti. The money went to the consultant Essential Consultants, created in October 2016 and thanks to which Cohen paid $ 130,000 to Daniels, then reimbursed by Donald Trump. At least 4.4 million dollars went through the boxes of Essential Consultants between the months before the presidential election of November 2016 and January 2018. Nicknamed the "pitbull" of the Trump Tower, Cohen is in short in the center of a cauldron of alleged conjugal infidelity, undue payments and political lobbying bordering on corruption. Some predict that the lawyer could even "turn around" and collaborate with the Russian investigation in exchange for an indulgent attitude of the prosecutor.