For English press or say 1
Para la prensa española 2
For mistress hush fund press or say 3
I’m sorry I didn’t quite get that.
Did you say you had sex with a porn star and need to cover it up.
If yes press or say 1.
A point: Cohen was pitching his — and Felix Slater’s — Ukraine peace plan to Michael Flynn during the same period Cohen was being paid by a Russian-linked firm, Columbus Nova:
Novartis has put out an updated statement on Michael Cohen acknowledging the contract was for $100,000 EVERY MONTH for a year. So $1.2m
Trump’s lawyer pitched himself as a fixer to Novartis and got paid $1.2 million
he curious relationship between one of the world’s biggest drug makers and President Trump’s personal lawyer began early last year when Michael Cohen, a longtime fixer for the president, reached out to Novartis’s then-chief executive officer Joe Jimenez, promising help gaining access to Trump and influential officials in the new administration, according to an employee inside Novartis familiar with the matter.
Jimenez took the call and then instructed his team to reach a deal with Cohen. A one-year contract worth $1.2 million was signed with Cohen in February 2017. The company’s hope was that Cohen could help it navigate a bevy of uncertain issues facing the drug maker — from potential changes to the Affordable Care Act and tax reform to navigating reimbursement challenges for medicines.
“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. “With a new administration coming in, basically, all the traditional contacts disappeared and they were all new players. We were trying to find an inroad into the administration. Cohen promised access to not just Trump, but also the circle around him. It was almost as if we were hiring him as a lobbyist.”
The employee could not explain why Novartis would have agreed to a deal with a lawyer with no background in health care and without deep Washington ties. The extent to which Novartis conducted any due diligence into Cohen or his track record as a Trump insider and Washington player is uncertain. Cohen and Jimenez could not be reached for comment.
In March 2017, a group of Novartis employees, mostly from the government affairs and lobbying teams, met with Cohen in New York to discuss specific issues and strategies. But the meeting was a disappointment, the insider explained, and the Novartis squad left with the impression that Cohen and Essential Consultants — the firm controlled by Cohen that Novartis was making payments to — may not be able to deliver.
“At first, it all sounded impressive, but toward the end of the meeting, everyone realized this was a probably a slippery slope to engage him. So they decided not to really engage Cohen for any activities after that,” the employee continued. Rather than attempt to cancel the contract, the company allowed it to lapse early in 2018 and not run the risk of ticking off the president. “It might have caused anger,” this person said.
As the contract expiration date neared earlier this year, Cohen then approached Vasant Narasimhan, who by then had succeeded Jimenez as Novartis chief executive, according to the employee. Narasimhan declined to renew the arrangement and the contract lapsed.
A Novartis spokesman on Wednesday maintained that Narasimhan had no involvement with the contract. “This episode was clearly a mistake,” the spokesman said.
Meanwhile, last November, several lawyers from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office approached Novartis regarding the agreement with Cohen. Among those interviewed was Jimenez. The company released a statement Wednesday morning saying it “cooperated fully” and “provided all the information requested. Novartis considers this matter closed as to itself and is not aware of any outstanding questions regarding the agreement.”
The Cohen contract was first disclosed on Tuesday night by Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for Stormy Daniels, the adult film star whose real name is Stephanie Clifford and who was paid $130,000 by Essential Consultants to keep quiet about her alleged affair with Trump. Avenatti initially posted a document on his website indicating Novartis paid Cohen’s firm $400,000 from early 2017 through 2018.
https://www.statnews.com/pharmalot/2018 ... -novartis/
Cohen reached out to the drug giant after the election, a senior Novartis official said
President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, contacted the drug giant Novartis after the 2016 election "promising access" to the new administration, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller later requested information from the company about the offer, a senior official inside Novartis told NBC News on Wednesday.
"He [Cohen] contacted us after the new administration was in place," the official said. "He was promising access to the new administration."
The disclosure came after an attorney representing the adult-film actress who says she had an affair with Trump released a summary of bank transactions that he says shows payments from various companies to a company controlled by Cohen.
That lawyer, Michael Avenatti, said the transactions suggest that Cohen was "selling access to the president of the United States." Cohen, his attorney and the White House did not respond to a request for comment.
According to Avenatti, at least $4.4 million flowed through Essential Consultants, the company Cohen created in October 2016 and then used to pay porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 in hush money.
Among the transactions that Avenatti said he uncovered:
Columbus Nova, a U.S.-based firm with ties to Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, made about $500,000 in payments between January and August 2017. In a statement, Columbus said it hired Cohen as a consultant "regarding potential sources of capital and potential investments in real estate and other ventures."
Novartis made at least four payments of just under $100,000 each in late 2017 and early 2018. In a statement, Novartis said it had an agreement with Essential Consultants, "focused on U.S. healthcare policy matters," and that the contract was worth $1.2 million over a period of one year.
AT&T made four payments of $50,000 each to Essential in late 2017 and early 2018. In a statement, AT&T said it engaged the firm in early 2017 to "provide insights into understanding the new administration."
Korea Aerospace Industries made a $150,000 payment to Essential in November 2017. KAI said in a statement to Reuters that it had a contract with Essential for "legal consulting concerning accounting standards on production costs."
Avenatti did not disclose how he got the information or any other evidence that Cohen might be selling access to Trump.
Getting into a cab in Manhattan on Wednesday morning, Cohen told reporters that Avenatti's report "is inaccurate," but provided no specifics. NBC News reviewed financial documents that appear to support Avenatti's accounting of the transactions involving the four companies.
In a statement, Novartis said it received an inquiry from investigators working for special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election, about its dealings with Essential Consultants in November 2017.
"In February 2017, shortly after the election of President Trump, Novartis entered into a one-year agreement with Essential Consultants. With the recent change in administration, Novartis believed that Michael Cohen could advise the company as to how the Trump administration might approach certain U.S. healthcare policy matters, including the Affordable Care Act," the company said in a statement.
"The agreement was for a term of one year, and paid Essential Consultants 100,000 USD per month. In March 2017, Novartis had its first meeting with Michael Cohen under this agreement. Following this initial meeting, Novartis determined that Michael Cohen and Essential Consultants would be unable to provide the services that Novartis had anticipated related to U.S. healthcare policy matters and the decision was taken not to engage further.
"As the contract unfortunately could only be terminated for cause, payments continued to be made until the contract expired by its own terms in February 2018."
He contacted us after the new administration was in place. He was promising access to the new administration.
AT&T sent an email to its employees on Wednesday with details about its dealings with Cohen.
"In early 2017, as President Trump was taking office, we hired several consultants to help us understand how the President and his administration might approach a wide range of policy issues important to the company, including regulatory reform at the FCC, corporate tax reform and antitrust enforcement," said the email, which was obtained by NBC News.
"Companies often hire consultants for these purposes, especially at the beginning of a new Presidential Administration, and we have done so in previous Administrations, as well.
"Cohen was one of those consultants," the email continued. " Cohen did no legal or lobbying work for us, and our contract with Cohen expired at the end of its term in December 2017. It was not until the following month in January 2018 that the media first reported, and AT&T first became aware of, the current controversy surrounding Cohen."
Columbus Nova, in its Tuesday night statement, took issue with Avenatti's claim that it was controlled by Vekselberg, one of the richest men in Russia, with a multibillion-dollar oil and aluminum fortune.
Vekselberg is one of the oligarchs recently sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department. Separately, according to the New York Times, citing people familiar with the matter, he was searched and questioned by agents working for Mueller when he got off a plane in the U.S. earlier this year.
Image: Russian President Vladimir Putin with Renova CEO Viktor Vekselberg
An attorney for Columbus Nova, where Vekselberg's cousin Andrew Intrater is the CEO, said claims Vekselberg "used Columbus Nova as a conduit for payments to Michael Cohen are false. The claim that Viktor Vekselberg was involved or provided any funding for Columbus Nova's engagement of Michael Cohen is patently untrue."
No one has been charged with a crime in connection with the Essential Consultants transactions, but Avenatti said the large payments, their timing and the disparity of the companies' interests are red flags of a pay-to-play scheme by a man often described as Trump's "fixer."
"We now have multiple different things supposedly that Michael Cohen was doing for all these companies. Now we hear from Novartis that he was hired on health care matters — evidently he's a doctor," Avenatti said facetiously on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
"One of the companies mentioned they hired him for real estate matters — he's a real estate agent? Another company stated that they hired him for accounting advice, evidently he's an accountant. So he's a lawyer, a doctor, an accountant, and a real estate agent.
"I'm just a lawyer. I'm not that bright I guess," Avenatti added.
"Where did the money go?" he asked. "Did all of it go to Michael Cohen? Did some of it go back to the Trump organization? Did some of it ultimately find its way back to the president?"
NBC News asked Cohen, the White House and the various companies for comment on Avenatti's accusation about the purpose of the payments but none had an immediate response.
Avenatti's summary also listed a series of smaller transactions involving international companies and individuals. Among them, the document says $3,698 came to Cohen from a corporate consulting firm in Singapore, $10,980 from a Hungary business, and $4,250 from a Malaysia consulting firm. NBC News has contacted those companies but has not received a response.
The smallest amount listed was $980 from two individuals in Kenya, Netanel Cohen and Stav Hayun. But the man who got those funds said Avenatti has the wrong Cohen.
"I am a Avionic technician in El Al airlines. So, no, not a lawyer," said Michael Cohen, 26, from Ashdod, Israel. "No, I never talk with or meet Trump."
He said that his brother Netanel wired him the money when he was living in Kenya to repay a debt. "He owed me some money," he said.
The 26-year-old Michael Cohen said he had no idea how the mixup could have occurred, but said he's been getting lots of attention. "My whole family was surprised. Friends called me, It was a crazy day," he said.
Cohen the Trump lawyer is the subject of an investigation by the U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan, and the FBI raided his law office and hotel room last month, seeking information about the $130,000 payment he made to porn actress Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.
Image: Stormy Daniels, Michael Avenatti
Adult-film actress Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels speaks outside US Federal Court with her lawyer Michael Avenatti, from right, in New York on April 16, 2018.Eduardo Munoz Alvarez / AFP - Getty Images file
The FBI has also monitored his phone calls with a pen register, meaning that the incoming and outgoing phone numbers were recorded but not the content of the calls.
Clifford claims she had a sexual affair with Trump a decade ago; the White House has said Trump denies it. In the fall of 2016, as the election approached, Cohen brokered a non-disclosure agreement with Clifford and wired her $130,000 from Essential Consultants' account at First Republic Bank.
Cohen has long maintained that he put up the money and that he was not reimbursed by the Trump campaign or by the Trump Organization. But one of Trump's lawyers, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, revealed last week that Trump had paid the $130,000 back to Cohen, providing dueling accounts of when Trump learned about the transaction.
Clifford has sued Trump and Cohen, claiming the non-disclosure agreement is invalid because he never actually signed it, and she has also sued the president for defamation for casting doubt on her account of being threatened by an unknown man several years ago to keep quiet about Trump.
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald ... mp-n872731
Michael Cohen, and the Trump team’s perpetually sloppy ties to Russians
A line has now been drawn, however tenuous, between President Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen and a Vladimir Putin-aligned Russian oligarch. Stormy Daniels's lawyer, Michael Avenatti, suggests it means Russia may have “replenished the account” Cohen used to pay off Daniels. For now that seems to be pure speculation.
If nothing else, though, the episode reinforces the remarkable sloppiness of those around Trump when it comes avoiding ties to Russians. And this one might actually be worse than many of its predecessors.
The situation is pretty complicated, but here are the basics: The company that retained Cohen's Essential Consultants LLC shell company, Columbus Nova, insists it was a legitimate real estate-related business arrangement and emphasizes that it is American owned and operated. That's despite its American owner, Andrew Intrater, being the cousin of Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, and Columbus Nova being an affiliate of Vekselberg's Renova Group. Both men have been interviewed by Robert S. Mueller III's investigators, but that in itself is not damning. (Mueller is nothing if not thorough, and he may have been asking the same questions we're now asking.)
The timeline here is key. According to Avenatti, Columbus Nova paid Cohen $500,000 between January 2017 and August 2017. That means the arrangement was forged after the 2016 election — even as Russian election interference was big news and the Russia investigation was getting off the ground.
And it's not like Cohen wouldn't have known Columbus Nova had ties to Russians. The New York Times reports, in fact, that Cohen met with both Intrater and Vekselberg when the two cousins attended Trump's inauguration:
[Intrater] and Mr. Vekselberg attended the event together and met with Mr. Cohen there, according to a person briefed on the matter. Columbus Nova retained him as a consultant soon afterward.
Trump was inaugurated on Jan. 20. Exactly two weeks earlier, the U.S. intelligence community released its big report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. Between that release and the inauguration, on Jan. 10, Trump tweeted what would become his refrain about the Russia investigation: That it was a “FAKE NEWS — A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!”
That same day, then-attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions was asked (and appeared to falsely deny) whether he or anyone on the Trump campaign had communicated with Russia during the campaign. And a couple days later, the administration was falsely denying incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn had discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador.
We may not have known the scope of the Russia investigation and how much it would eventually close in on Trump, but we knew there were big questions. What's more, people around Trump like Sessions and Flynn were put in the position of denying coordination with the Russians just days before. Against that backdrop, Cohen decided to enter into an arrangement with a company affiliated with a Russian oligarch after having met with that oligarch at Trump's inauguration.
The least nefarious explanation, as it often has been throughout the Russia saga, is that Cohen was being careless and failing to avoid what could be a problematic tie. And he wouldn't be the first to offer the ignorance defense. Sessions says he didn't think to mention his meetings with Russia's ambassador. Flynn quibbled with the definition of “sanctions” after falsely denying he'd discussed them with the ambassador. And Donald Trump Jr. insists he wasn't trying to collude with Russia by taking that meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer — contending he was doing what anyone else would have done in the heat of a campaign.
But even more than in these examples, Cohen should have been going into this arrangement with his eyes pretty wide open when it came to whether it might be problematic. And he did it anyway.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the ... 388da3a758
Vekselberg is also President of the Skolkovo Foundation - a Moscow-based non-profit supporting entrepreneurship, innovation and encouraging venture capitalism - and he was appointed in 2010, by then-President Dmitry Medvedev
Michael Cohen & AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson entered Trump Tower 8 minutes apart on Jan 12, 2017. Eric Trump entered soon after. Who here thinks the Trumps not only knew of Cohen's scheme, but were also getting a cut? Yeah, me too.
A January 12, 2017 pool report from Trump Tower shows Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson entering 8 minutes apart. AT&T would go on to hire Cohen "to provide insights into understanding the new administration."
Just months ago, in 2018, Cohen went to Novartis and asked them to renew the contract where they pay the president's personal attorney $1.2 million to do nothing.
Stormy lawyer @MichaelAvenatti says transactions suggest Cohen 'selling' Trump access – Novartis confirms: A senior Novartis official told @nbcnews that Cohen reached out shortly after Trump's election "promising access" to the new administration.