Michael Cohen, the longtime personal attorney to President Trump. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Several American companies paid Donald Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, for White House insights; But it doesn't appear that the moves paid off.

The bottom line: The main thing the companies bought themselves was a major P.R. headache, with nothing to show for it.

AT&T, for example, gave Cohen at least $200,000 between last October and this January. Last November the company was sued by the U.S. Department of Justice, in an attempt to block its $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner.

Columbus Nova, a U.S. investment firm with ties to Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, paid Cohen around $500,000. It claims that Vekselberg had no involvement in the hire, instead saying Cohen was retained "as a business consultant regarding potential sources of capital and potential investments in real estate and other ventures."

  • Columbus Nova has not yet provided information on capital sources or potential investments identified by Cohen, nor why an 18 year-old firm would make an upfront fundraising payment rather than one based on some sort of commission. As for Vekselberg, he had between $1.5 billion and $2 billion of money frozen by the U.S. Treasury Department.

Novartis reportedly signed Cohen to a $1.2 million, one-year contract in February 2017, in order to advise the drug maker on how Trump would approach issues ranging from Obamacare changes to reimbursement.

  • Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan was one of several big pharma CEOs who got a private dinner with Trump at this past January's World Economic Forum in Davos, but the company claims in a statement that the invite was unrelated to Cohen. In fact, Novartis says it quickly determined that Cohen "would be unable to provide the services that Novartis had anticipated related to US healthcare policy matters," but that it was contractually obligated to fulfill its payments for the full year.

Go deeper

Two officers shot in Louisville amid Breonna Taylor protests

Police officers stand guard during a protest in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo: Ben Hendren/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Louisville Metro Police Department said two officers were shot downtown in the Kentucky city late Wednesday, just hours after a grand jury announced an indictment in the Breonna Taylor case.

Driving the news: Metrosafe, the city's emergency services, said it received reports of a shooting at South Brook St. and Broadway Ave., near the area where protests were taking place. A police spokesperson told a press briefing the injuries of both officers were not life-threatening. One officer was "alert and stable" and the other was undergoing surgery, he said.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 31,778,331 — Total deaths: 974,436 — Total recoveries: 21,876,025Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 6,943,078 — Total deaths: 201,930 — Total recoveries: 2,670,256 — Total tests: 97,459,742Map.
  3. Health: CDC director says over 90% of Americans have not yet been exposed to coronavirus — Supply shortages continue to plague testing.
  4. Politics: Missouri Gov. Mike Parson tests positive for coronavirus — Poll says 51% of Republicans trust Trump on coronavirus more than the CDC.
  5. Technology: The tech solutions of 2020 may be sapping our resolve to beat the coronavirus
  6. Vaccines: Johnson & Johnson begins large phase 3 trial — The FDA plans to toughen standards.
  7. Sports: Less travel is causing the NBA to see better basketball.
  8. Future: America's halfway coronavirus response

Biden: Breonna Taylor indictment "does not answer" call for justice

Former Vice President Joe Biden. Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday condemned the grand jury indictment of a Louisville police officer who entered Breonna Taylor's home in March in a botched drug raid that led to her death, saying in a statement the decision "does not answer" for equal justice.

The big picture: Biden called for reforms to address police use of force and no-knock warrants, while demanding a ban on chokeholds. He added that people "have a right to peacefully protest, but violence is never acceptable."

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