Dems demand details on Cohen payments, citing potential corruption

Dems demand details on Cohen payments, citing potential corruption
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A group of Senate Democrats is demanding answers from AT&T and Novartis after it was revealed the two companies paid large sums of money to President TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassley: Dems 'withheld information' on new Kavanaugh allegation Health advocates decry funding transfer over migrant children Groups plan mass walkout in support of Kavanaugh accuser MORE’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen.

Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenDemocrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her More Massachusetts Voters Prefer Deval Patrick for President than Elizabeth Warren Trump's trade war — firing all cannons or closing the portholes? MORE (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHillicon Valley: NYT says Rosenstein wanted to wear wire on Trump | Twitter bug shared some private messages | Vendor put remote-access software on voting machines | Paypal cuts ties with Infowars | Google warned senators about foreign hacks Overnight Health Care: Opioids package nears finish line | Measure to help drug companies draws ire | Maryland ObamaCare rates to drop Google says senators' Gmail accounts targeted by foreign hackers MORE (D-Ore.) sent a letter to AT&T on Monday raising questions about whether the $600,000 in payments were appropriate.

“In particular, AT&T had a significant financial interest in key Administration decisions, including whether the Department of Justice would contest the proposed merger with Time Warner, whether the Federal Communications Commission would overturn net neutrality rules, and whether the Administration would push a tax plan that gave huge breaks to corporations like AT&T,” the senators wrote to CEO Randall Stephenson.

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“Given these ongoing and significant matters, the unusual series of payments by AT&T to the President's personal attorney raise obvious questions about corruption and whether AT&T, Essential Consultants, and the Trump Administration were engaged in a pay-for-play operation.”

Warren and Blumenthal also sent a similar letter and list of questions to Novartis CEO Vasant Narasimhan about the Swedish pharmaceutical company’s $1.2 million consulting contract with Cohen’s limited liability firm, Essential Consultants.

In recent days, Stephenson and Narasimhan have both apologized for their companies’ contracts with Essential Consultants. Bob Quinn, AT&T’s head of public policy, stepped down after the payments were revealed.

In a detailed list of questions, the three Democrats pressed Stephenson for details on the payments, including which executives were involved in working with Cohen. In one of the questions, the senators ask the CEO to divulge information about a meeting he and Quinn attended at Trump Tower during the transition period after the election.

“Did you, Mr. Quinn, or any other AT&T executives meet with Michael Cohen, Mr. Trump or any other executives of the Trump Organization on January 12, 2017?” the Democrats wrote. “If so, did any of those discussions involve a potential work by, or a contract with, Essential Consultants and Mr. Cohen?”

"We are aware of the letter and will respond," said AT&T spokesman Michael Balmoris.

A Novartis spokesman did not respond when asked for comment.

Updated at 1:49 p.m.