Reports: Ford rejected Cohen's consulting offer

By Allen Cone  |  Updated May 12, 2018 at 6:17 PM
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May 12 (UPI) -- Ford Motor Co. reportedly rejected an offer from President Donald Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, for his services as a consultant.

Special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign and the possibility that Trump's campaign colluded in that effort, learned about the offer and asked Ford for records, the Detroit Free Press reported. The Wall Street Journal also reported Cohen offered to give insight because of his closeness to Trump by contacting Ford's office in Washington in a phone call.

Ford declined comment to the Free Press on Friday night. And Cohen didn't respond to a request for comment and Mr. Mueller's spokesman declined to comment with the Wall Street Journal.

Michael Avenatti, attorney for adult entertainer Stormy Daniels who is suing Trump, confirmed what sources told the Free Press.

"I can confirm that Mr. Cohen solicited Ford Motor Company," he said by phone about his client, also known as Stephanie Clifford, "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."

Cohen set up a company called Essential Consultants through which he paid Clifford $130,000 to buy her silence about a sexual encounter she alleges she had with Trump in 2006. The company also spun into Cohen's consulting work.

Federal prosecutors have been investigating Cohen's consulting work, including searching Cohen's office, home and hotel room in April. Mueller referred the consulting work to the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's office.

Earlier this week, it was reported pharmaceutical company Novartis AG and the telecommunications firm AT&T Inc. made payments made to Essential Consultants in exchange for Cohen's advice.

Mueller's office reportedly sought information from these companies.

On Friday, AT&T said that hiring Cohen for $50,000 per month for one was a "big mistake."

On Saturday, Trump noted that the Justice Department opposes AT&T's merger with Time Warner.

"Why doesn't the Fake News Media state that the Trump Administration's Anti-Trust Division has been, and is, opposed to the AT&T purchase of Time Warner in a currently ongoing Trial. Such a disgrace in reporting!," he posted on Twitter.

Rudy Giuliani, a new Trump attorney, told NBC News on Saturday that "the president did not intervene" in the Justice Department's decision and he had "no knowledge of all of the patments to Cohen."

Novartis said it paid Cohen $100,000 a month but let the contract expire.

Also, Columbus Nova, an American company linked to Russian Viktor Vekselberg, reportedly paid $500,000 to Essential Consultants. Mueller is investigating Vekselberg.

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