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Michael Cohen, longtime personal lawyer and confidante for President Donald Trump. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said in an employee memo Friday morning that hiring President Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, was "a big mistake."

The fallout: Stephenson also reportedly announced in the memo that Bob Quinn, AT&T's head lobbyist who oversees the Washington office that Stephenson said failed to properly vet Cohen, is retiring after less than two years in the role.

“To be clear, everything we did was done according to the law and entirely legitimate. But the fact is our past association with Cohen was a serious misjudgment.”
— Stephenson wrote in the memo

The backdrop: AT&T confirmed Tuesday that it contracted a corporation tied to Cohen for insights on the new administration. In total it paid him $600,000, per the New York Times.

  • Timing: Last November, AT&T was sued by the Justice Department in an attempt to block its $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner. In a fact sheet on Cohen's role released Friday, AT&T said it had hired him with an eye towards understanding the administration's approach on "regulatory reform at the FCC, tax reform, and antitrust enforcement, specifically our Time Warner deal."

Go deeper: Corporate America paid Michael Cohen millions, left with nothing

Go deeper

Tech's leaky world

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Tech companies are learning what everyone in Washington already knows: Leaks of confidential info are inevitable, and "plumbing" operations to close them rarely work.

Why it matters: Most tech firms talk up the power of transparency but prefer to keep details of their operations secret from competitors and the public. Researchers, regulators and the media are increasingly relying on information provided by dissident employees and whistleblowers to see inside companies' workings.

Updated 21 mins ago - Politics & Policy

First look: Harris wants more union membership in fed workforce

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at a virtual town hall with Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) on Oct. 14. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh will today announce new guidelines to encourage federal workers to join unions, according to a White House official.

Why it matters: The Biden administration wants to bolster the collective bargaining power of workers across the country – and they are starting at home, with changes in the federal workforce.

32 mins ago - Health

The global coronavirus vaccine gap

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, particularly low-income countries. Pressure is increasing on the Biden administration to close the gap — and the Biden administration, in turn, is pushing Moderna to fill it.

Why it matters: Getting global vaccination rates as high as possible isn't just a humanitarian effort; it also reduces the risk of vaccine-resistant variants emerging.