According to a report from the Wall Street Journal (sub. required), Michael Cohen, personal attorney to President Donald Trump, offered to provide consulting services to Ford. Reuters reports that Cohen touted his close connection to Trump when he made the consulting offer in January of 2017, but his overture was quickly rejected before any specific fees were discussed, according to a person briefed on the matter.
Even though Ford declined to work with Cohen, the office of Robert Mueller, special counsel in the Russia probe, learned of Cohen's contact with Ford and asked the automaker for information and records about the offer. Mueller has interviewed Ford's head of government affairs Ziad Ojakli, reports WSJ.
This report comes after news that AT&T, the second largest wireless carrier in the United States, paid Essential Consultants LLC, a firm set up by Cohen, a total of $600,000 in 2017 for advice on navigating "a wide range of issues," including its proposed $85 billion merger with Time Warner. Trump's administration opposes the merger.
Essential Consultants is the same entity Cohen used to pay Stormy Daniels a fee of $130,000 days before the 2016 presidential election as part of a nondisclosure agreement that barred her from discussing an alleged sexual encounter with Trump. He denies any encounter took place.
Following Trump's election, corporations have paid Cohen at least $2.95 million through Essential Consultants, the Washington Post reported, citing figures confirmed by the companies. Cohen is currently under federal investigation after a referral from Mueller's team resulted in a search of his offices and hotel room.
This story includes information reported by Reuters.
- Ford's rejection of Michael Cohen offer prompts Mueller inquiry originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 12 May 2018 12:25:00 EDT.