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Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen. Photo: Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

President Trump's then-personal lawyer Michael Cohen hired an IT firm, RedFinch Solutions, LLC, to attempt to rig online polls at CNBC and the Drudge Report in 2014 and 2015 in Trump's favor, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Details: Cohen was supposed to pay John Gauger, RedFinch's owner, $50,000 for his services during a meeting at Trump Tower in early 2015, but instead handed him "a blue Walmart bag containing between $12,000 and $13,000 in cash and, randomly, a boxing glove that [Cohen] said had been worn by a Brazilian mixed-martial arts fighter"

  • Gauger told the WSJ that he never got the full $50,000, though Cohen reportedly requested a reimbursement for the complete amount from Trump and The Trump Organization.

The backdrop: Neither of Cohen's schemes in the online polls ended up being particularly successful.

  • Cohen had asked RedFinch to write a script to repeatedly vote for Trump in a 2014 CNBC online poll of the country’s top business leaders. Trump didn't crack the top 100.
  • In 2015, RedFinch was asked to do the same for a Drudge Report poll of potential Republican presidential candidates ahead of the 2016 election. Trump ultimately finished fifth with about 5% of the total.

Another piece of color from the WSJ piece: Cohen also asked Gauger "to create the @WomenForCohen account, still active in 2019, to elevate his profile. The account’s profile says it is run by 'Women who love and support Michael Cohen. Strong, pit bull, sex symbol, no nonsense, business oriented and ready to make a difference!'"

The backdrop: Cohen has since been sentenced in a New York federal court to three years in prison on charges related to other work for Trump, including campaign finance violations, tax evasion and lying to Congress.

Go deeper: Top House Democrats warn Trump after Cohen comments

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: Nursing homes are still getting pummeledU.S. could hit herd immunity by end of summer 2021 if Americans embrace virus vaccines, Fauci says.
  2. Politics: Pelosi, Schumer call on McConnell to adopt bipartisan $900B stimulus framework.
  3. World: U.K. clears Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for mass rollout — Putin says Russia will begin large-scale vaccination next week.
  4. Business: Investors are finally starting to take their money out of safe-haven Treasuries.
  5. Sports: The end of COVID’s grip on sports may be in sight.

Pelosi, Schumer call on McConnell to adopt bipartisan $900B stimulus framework

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Nov. 20. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to use a $908 billion bipartisan coronavirus relief framework as a basis for jumpstarting negotiations.

Why it matters: The framework, introduced by a group of bipartisan senators on Tuesday, calls for significantly less funding than Pelosi had previously demanded — a sign that Democrats are ready to further compromise as millions of Americans endure economic hardship.

Scoop: Uber in talks to sell air taxi business to Joby

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Uber is in advanced talks to sell its Uber Elevate unit to Joby Aviation, Axios has learned from multiple sources. A deal could be announced later this month.

Between the lines: Uber Elevate was formed to develop a network of self-driving air taxis, but to date has been most notable for its annual conference devoted to the nascent industry.