AT&T made consulting payments to Michael Cohen’s company in 2017

AT&T said it made payments to Essential Consultants LLC, a company created by Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, in 2017 for “insights” into the Administration at a time when the telecommunications giant needed government approval for an $85 billion takeover of Time Warner Inc. Cohen used Essential Consultants LLC in October 2016 to make a $130,000 payment to former adult-film actress Stephanie Clifford, known professionally as Stormy Daniels, who had alleged she had a sexual encounter with Donald Trump in 2006. AT&T made four payments to Cohen’s firm totaling $200,000 from October 2017 to January 2018. AT&T’s monthly payments started earlier, according to a person familiar with the matter. “Right around [when the] inauguration is happening, we need somebody who knows the administration,” the person said. “How does he think? What are their priorities?”

“Essential Consultants was one of several firms we engaged in early 2017 to provide insights into understanding the new administration,“ AT&T said in a statement. ”They did no legal or lobbying work for us, and the contract ended in December 2017.”

AT&T made consulting payments to Michael Cohen’s company in 2017 AT&T confirms it paid Michael Cohen for 'insights' on Trump admin (The Hill) AT&T Says $200K Paid to Michael Cohen’s Firm Was for ‘Insights’ Into Trump Administration (The Wrap) AT&T: Cohen Payments Not for Lobbying (Multichannel News) AT&T was paying Trump's lawyer as the administration turned into foe (LA Times)