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Mueller Wants to Know Why Ford Rejected Cohen's Offer for Consulting Services
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14 May 2018 06:45 PM EST

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Ford logo on the front grill of a Ford Fiesta (Image Source: Public Domain)

 

It's been well-reported that major companies, such as Novartis and AT&T, agreed to contracts with Michael Cohen for his consulting services when he promised an inside track into Donald Trump's administration. But not every company bit. Ford rejected his offer, and special counsel Robert Mueller wants to know why.

Cohen seems to have made interesting moves with money, and they're always connected to his client, Trump, at least in some way, and are through his shell company, Essential Consultants. 

He paid settlements to both Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal so that they would keep quiet about their alleged affairs with the president. He accepted large amounts of money from Novartis, AT&T, and a Russian oligarch. 

Mueller has been investigating the possible collusion between Trump's campaign and Russia to influence the 2016 election. The FBI raided Cohen's office, and it seemed a stretch to connect the investigation to Daniels or McDougal, but the connection with these other financial deals may not be so much of a stretch.

Cohen also approached Ford Motor Company a short time after the election and offered to be a consultant, but the offer was rejected.

"I can confirm that Mr. Cohen solicited Ford Motor Company," said Daniels' attorney, the outspoken Michael Avenatti. "It was in late 2016 into '17. On multiple occasions. There was no policy. He was trying to sell access to the president. My understanding is that it was by phone and electronic communication."

The Wall Street Journal has said that Mueller's investigative team has spoken with Ziad Ojakli, Ford's head of government affairs, who said the automaker rejected the offer.

AT&T's CEO Randall Stephenson admitted that the deal with Cohen was a "big mistake." He told employees in a memo that everything was lawful and legitimate, but also said, "the fact is our past association with Cohen was a serious misjudgment." The company has said that their chief lobbyist in Washington has been fired.

Vasant Narasimhan, Novartis's chief executive, told his employees, "We made a mistake in entering into this engagement, and as a consequence are being criticized by a world that expects more from us."

Of interest to Mueller as well as lawmakers is what Cohen's consulting services were to entail, despite neither AT&T nor Novartis feeling they got what they were looking for. 

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee wrote to Novartis and asked for details of the contract. "This arrangement raises serious concerns about the length Novartis was willing to go in order to curry favor with this administration and, perhaps more troublingly, what it expected or was promised in return.

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