Cohen Offered to Sell Access to Trump to Novartis

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In television interviews with ABC News and MSNBC, Avenatti declined to say how he obtained information about the payments.

Trump's latest addition to his legal team, Rudy Giuliani, claimed these revelations about Cohen have nothing to do with the president, even though it could very well be that the money from Columbus Nova may have been used to pay Daniels.

Attorneys for Michael Cohen are disputing portions of a revealing document that outlines details of some of Cohen's financial dealings.

The payments were revealed by the man who has become Cohen's nemesis, Michael Avenatti, the lawyer who is seeking to release Daniels from the "hush agreement" she signed with Essential Consultants.

AT&T said in a statement that Essential Consultants was one of several firms it "engaged in early 2017 to provide insights into understanding the new administration".

AT&T confirmed payments of $200,000 to Essential Consultants, although a source familiar with the matter told Reuters it likely paid more than that and could total as much as $600,000.

Furthermore, Cohen says attorney Michael Avenatti has no business being in possession of personal bank records, let alone publishing them for public consumption.

Cohen's lawyers said that much of the information released by Avenatti was "completely inaccurate".

A Democratic U.S. senator called for hearings about the company payments to the firm run by Cohen, a longtime attorney and self-described "fixer" for Trump. The FBI raided his properties last month as part of that probe.

Before becoming Trump's right-hand man, Cohen a burly guy with thick salt-and-pepper hair - was, in fact, a personal injury lawyer representing clients injured in auto accidents.

However, Mr. Cohen never used Resolution Consultants.

"Novartis determined that Michael Cohen and Essential Consultants would be unable to provide the services that Novartis had anticipated related to US health-care policy matters and the decision was taken not to engage further", the company said in a statement. "Among other things, they effectively concede the receipt of the $500,000 from those with Russian ties". "That's the decision of an independent company and has nothing to do with the White House".

Jimenez did not respond to requests for comment. But on Twitter, Avenatti challenged reporters to seek out the suspicious activity reports collected by the Treasury Department.

Novartis added that it has also been contacted by Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed to investigate links between Trump and the Russian government.

"He reached out to us", the Novartis employee said, providing STAT with the company's version of events as it scrambles to contain the fallout from being entangled in the investigations surrounding Trump and his inner circle, including Cohen.

Among the transactions reported by The Times was a $500,000 payment past year to Cohen from Columbus Nova, which according to public documents is described as a US-based affiliate of Renova Group, a company founded by Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg.