Economy

Explosive claim backtracked by Giuliani: Trump intervened in Warner- AT&T Merger

Explosive claim backtracked by Giuliani: Trump intervened in Warner- AT&T Merger

Stephenson, AT&T's chief executive, said Friday that the company had made a "big mistake" by hiring President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, to advise on the telecommunications giant's deal to buy Time Warner.

Analysts said they did not expect the revelations about AT&T's ties to Cohen to affect the government's lawsuit to block the company's merger with Time Warner.

Rudy Giuliani, one of President Donald Trump's attorneys, says he is "quite certain" the president did not know Michael Cohen was trying to sell his insight into the president.

"The president had no knowledge of it", Giuliani said, in an interview with the Huffington Post.

AT&T never asked Cohen to set up meetings with anyone in the Trump administration, and he did not offer to do so, it said.

Now, Giuliani has suggested Trump in fact was central to that decision.

"Whatever lobbying was done didn't reach the president", Giuliani said, repeating a claim he made to CNN's Dana Bash on Thursday.

On Jan. 12, 2017, Stephenson arrived at Trump Tower in NY to meet with then-President-elect Donald Trump.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders corrected the record on Saturday saying, "The Department of Justice denied the merger".

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"Let this serve as formal notice - there is significantly more evidence and facts to come relating to Mr. Cohen's dealings and Mr. Trump's knowledge and involvement", Avenatti said on Twitter Friday. "They didn't get the result they wanted", he said. The consulting fee went through a shell company Cohen also used to pay hush money to Daniels over her alleged affair with Trump.

The president was considering sidelining him from television interviews, the report said.

His comments about AT&T are notable because a political cloud has been hanging over the deal since day one.

Under AT&T's rules, Quinn had significant leeway to approve the Cohen contract because its $600,000 price tag did not trigger oversight from more senior executives, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal company practices.

The disclosure of AT&T's relationship with Cohen has turned into a major embarrassment for the telecommunications company as it awaits a United States judge's decision, due on June 12, on whether it can go through with the purchase of Time Warner, a deal that has been denounced by Trump.

Still, AT&T and Time Warner executives believed the deal would receive DOJ approval, much like Comcast's acquisition of NBCUniversal did almost a decade ago. Trump has been vocal in his disdain for CNN's coverage of his administration. But the company would not answer questions about what specifically went wrong and whether it would enact changes in how it conducts business in Washington. CNN is owned by Time Warner.

"I don't see how in any way he could sit down with Mueller", he said.

The judge in the case is expected to issue a ruling by or on June 12.


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