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Michael Cohen Paid by Russian Oligarch, Novartis, AT&T
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Michael Cohen. Photo courtesy of Washington Examiner.

Summary: Michael Cohen’s business dealings were exposed this week, revealing that he pitched White House access to potential rich clients. 

Michael Cohen paid porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 in 2016 to shut her up about her alleged affair with now-president Donald Trump, but new reports show that he may have also pitched himself as a “fixer” to more than just POTUS.

  
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Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, wrote on Twitter on Tuesday that Cohen had accepted $500,000 from a Russian oligarch and that money may have been used as reimbursement for Cohen’s payment to Daniels. After that tweet, more information about Cohen’s dealings were revealed, including that he has earned millions in consulting fees to big corporations, promising them access to the White House.

Some of Cohen’s clients include the drug company Novartis, communications giant AT&T, and Korean Aerospace Industries.

According to NBC News, Cohen contacted Novartis in 2016 and offered them access to Trump in exchange for a consulting fee, and on Wednesday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller requested information from the company about that exchange.

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In April, Mueller had the FBI raid Cohen’s office and home to find information about his payment to Daniels and other payments that could be considered violations to campaign finance law. Mueller is investigating whether or not Russia helped Trump win the 2016 presidential election, and so far, he has indicted several members of Trump’s inner circle. Pundits predict that Cohen will be charged soon, and some are speculating whether or not he will flip on his longtime client.

Cohen entered the public spotlight in 2017 when Buzzfeed published the Russia dossier written by ex-British special agent Christopher Steele. In the dossier, Cohen was mentioned as a liason between Trump and Russia, a charge that Cohen denied. Cohen sued Buzzfeed for defamation, but he withdrew his case this year after a report surfaced that seemed to confirm Steele’s findings.



After the dossier, Cohen continued to stay in the spotlight. In January of 2018, the Wall Street Journal reported that a member of Trump’s camp had paid Daniels $130,000 to stop her from shopping a story about her alleged affair with Trump in 2006. Cohen later admitted that he had used his LLC to pay off the porn star, and this week, it was discovered that the same LLC was used to make big money deals with high-profile corporations.

NBC News reported that Novartis signed a $1.2 million contract for access to the White House, and this information was released by Avenatti who was able to get a hold of Cohen’s bank records because of his client’s lawsuit against Cohen and Trump.

After Cohen said that he had arranged the $130,000 payment to Daniels without Trump, she sued him to break the 2016 NDA she had signed, saying it was not valid without Trump’s signature, and she also sued Cohen and Trump for defamation because they had implied she was lying about her affair.

Avenatti said that Cohen had made approximately $4.4 million selling access to Trump, and he said that a Russian oligarch had given Cohen $500,000. According to CNBC, AT&T also gave Cohen approximately $600,000.

AT&T released a statement that they had paid Cohen in order to gain insights into the new administration, but experts wonder if AT&T paid money indirectly to the White House in order to get the okay for the pending merger with Time Warner or to sway the White House to dismantle net neutrality.

While the revelations about Cohen’s LLC may be unsavory, it is unclear if he had broken any laws, says one expert.

“The law is very narrow in terms of what constitutes a bribe,” Mimi Rocah, a former federal prosecutor in New York, told Bloomberg. “You can pay money to get access to politics and curry favor — you just can’t pay money to get an official action.”

What do you think of Michael Cohen? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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