Speed Reads

Playing politics

Trump and Giuliani highlight Cohen's failure in response to AT&T consulting arrangement

After news broke that AT&T paid President Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, $600,000 to consult on the company's attempted acquisition of Time Warner, among other projects, the telecom labeled the partnership "a serious misjudgment."

Meanwhile, Trump and his new personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, responded by emphasizing the administration's opposition to the deal, suggesting Cohen's arrangement was not a big deal because he proved an ineffective lobbyist. The president made his comments on Twitter Friday evening:

Giuliani likewise said Friday "the president denied the merger," so "whatever lobbying was done didn't reach the president" and AT&T "didn't get the result they wanted." This defense apparently contradicts the Justice Department's narrative that Trump is uninvolved in the decision. "If Giuliani didn't misspeak, this is major news," said former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti Friday. "It is highly unusual for the president to be involved in DOJ merger decisions."