Trump attacks media after reports of Cohen deal with AT&T

President TrumpDonald John TrumpConway defends herself against Hatch Act allegations amid threat of subpoena How to defuse Gulf tensions and avoid war with Iran Trump says 'stubborn child' Fed 'blew it' by not cutting rates MORE went after the news media on Friday evening for not reporting that his administration was opposed to the AT&T merger with Time Warner, following reports that his personal attorney Michael Cohen was paid by AT&T for consulting.

"Why doesn’t the Fake News Media state that the Trump Administration’s Anti-Trust Division has been, and is, opposed to the AT&T purchase of Time Warner in a currently ongoing Trial. Such a disgrace in reporting!" Trump tweeted.

Trump attacked the media after reports that Cohen had pitched himself as a consultant on Trump administration policy in the days after the 2016 election and received hundreds of thousands of dollars from AT&T, among other companies.


The Washington Post reported this week that Cohen received $600,000 to consult for AT&T about the merger, among other issues. The company has since called the contract a mistake and said Cohen could not provide the services they expected.

The deal is significant because it raises questions about whether Trump knew about his personal attorney's financial dealings with AT&T and other companies with business before the Trump administration.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the optics of the deal at a press briefing Friday, claiming it was proof that the Trump administration would not be influenced by outside forces.

"This further proves the president is not going to be influenced by special interests. This is actually the definition of 'draining the swamp,' " she said, directing further questions to the president's outside counsel.

"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. ... He’s going to do what he finds to be in the best interest of Americans across the country,” Sanders said.

Cohen's consulting company, Essential Consultants LLC, is also significant because Cohen used the firm before the 2016 election to facilitate a $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels, an adult-film actress who claims to have had an affair with Trump in 2006.

Trump has denied the affair, and Cohen claims the payment was made to silence Daniels's false claims.