AT&T: Hiring Cohen was 'big mistake'

AT&T: Hiring Cohen was 'big mistake'
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AT&T's CEO said Friday that hiring President TrumpDonald John TrumpLondon terror suspect’s children told authorities he complained about Trump: inquiry The Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh Trump to nominate retiring lawmaker as head of trade agency MORE's personal attorney Michael Cohen was "a big mistake."

In a memo to employees, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said that while everything the company did in hiring Cohen was in accordance with the law, they should not have hired him.

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“There is no other way to say it — AT&T hiring Michael Cohen as a political consultant was a big mistake,” Stephenson wrote. “To be clear, everything we did was done according to the law and entirely legitimate. But the fact is, our past association with Cohen was a serious misjudgment.”

In the letter, Stephenson also announced that Bob Quinn, AT&T’s senior executive vice president of external & legislative affairs, will step down. AT&T’s legislative affairs group will now report to the company’s general counsel, David McAtee.

Stephenson explained Quinn’s departure as a retirement without specifying further.

The AT&T CEO also included a fact sheet with his letter to employees detailing the company’s version of events around hiring Cohen.

According to the fact sheet, Cohen approached the company around the time of the Trump presidential transition, saying that he would be leaving the Trump Organization to consult for corporate clients on the new administration.

AT&T confirmed that it paid Cohen $600,000, in monthly $50,000 installments from January 2017 to December 2017.

AT&T paid a Cohen company, Essential Consultants LLC. That is the same company the Trump lawyer used to pay adult-film star Stormy Daniels $130,000 to not talk about an affair she alleges she had with Trump.

AT&T paid Cohen at a time when it was pursuing a merger with Time Warner, which required administration approval.

On the campaign trail, Trump had said that he opposed the merger and would attempt to block it if he were elected.

The Department of Justice has since sued to block the $85 billion merger. The case is still pending.