May 11, 2018

AT&T CEO admits hiring Michael Cohen was "a big mistake"

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

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

Coronavirus antibody tests are still relatively unreliable, and it's unclear if people who get the virus are immune to getting it again, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautioned on Tuesday.

By the numbers: More than 98,900 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 384,900 Americans have recovered and more than 14.9 million tests have been conducted.

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Mexico reported its highest single-day death toll on Tuesday, after 501 people died from the coronavirus, per data from Johns Hopkins and the country's health ministry.

By the numbers: Almost 5.5 million people have tested positive for the virus as of Tuesday, and more than 2.2 million have recovered. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 14.9 million tests).

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 5,588,299 — Total deaths: 350,417 — Total recoveries — 2,286,827Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 1,680,625 — Total deaths: 98,902 — Total recoveries: 384,902 — Total tested: 14,907,041Map.
  3. Federal response: DOJ investigates meatpacking industry over soaring beef pricesMike Pence's press secretary returns to work.
  4. Congress: House Republicans to sue Nancy Pelosi in effort to block proxy voting.
  5. Business: How the new workplace could leave parents behind.
  6. Tech: Twitter fact-checks Trump's tweets about mail-in voting for first timeGoogle to open offices July 6 for 10% of workers.
  7. Public health: Coronavirus antibodies could give "short-term immunity," CDC says, but more data is neededCDC releases guidance on when you can be around others after contracting the virus.
  8. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 49 mins ago - Politics & Policy