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 TrumpBill Kristol resurfaces video of Pence calling Obama executive action on immigration a 'profound mistake' ACLU says planned national emergency declaration is 'clear abuse of presidential power' O'Rourke says he'd 'absolutely' take down border wall near El Paso if he could MORE’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen.

Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren's 'ultra wealth' tax is misleading Hillicon Valley: New York says goodbye to Amazon's HQ2 | AOC reacts: 'Anything is possible' | FTC pushes for record Facebook fine | Cyber threats to utilities on the rise O’Rourke heading to Wisconsin amid 2020 speculation MORE (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenDem lawmaker: 'Trump's presidency is the real national emergency' Dems introduce bill to take gender-specific terms out of tax code to make it LGBT-inclusive 8 surprising times our intel community spied on US citizens 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.