For everyone trying to remain abreast of the latest revelations involving alleged corruption by the Trump Organization and the president’s inner circle, Stormy Daniels attorney Michael Avenatti has become a godsend.
What began as an effort to obtain the release of his client from a non–disclosure agreement to keep secret an alleged affair with Donald Trump has evolved into a snowballing media blitz that has exposed a pretty obvious pay–to–play scandal involving multiple corporations and individuals. Now, Avenatti is raising questions about Trump fixer Michael Cohen’s relationship with the influential law and lobbying firm Squire Patton Boggs.
The firm paid Cohen $500,000 a year to bring it clients, before severing its relationship with Trump’s fixer in March.
Avenatti told MSNBC host Joy Reid on Saturday:
“There’s another issue really hasn’t been touched on yet, and I think that this is going to be the next front of inquiry this next week.
So, shortly after the election, Michael Cohen goes and…forms a relationship with a very well–known law firm in Washington, DC, by the name of Patton Boggs. And Patton Boggs has a long history of lobbying and being involved between companies and the U.S. government. That’s a very unusual relationship to have been formed right after the election, because Michael Cohen is not your average Patton Boggs attorney.
I think some of us have experience with Patton Boggs. I know I do. It’s a very reputable law firm. Some of those people are highly educated usually, a lot of experience, exceptional attorneys. That’s a very unusual relationship. So, why did Patton Boggs and why did Michael Cohen come together, and what did Michael Cohen sell to Patton Boggs as it related to the idea that they were going to allow Michael Cohen to come to the law firm?
It’s pretty clear to me what he sold them. What he sold them was a book of clients. A book of corporations or individuals that had already retained him for access to the U.S. president.
That needs to be the next inquiry: What did Patton Boggs know, when did they know it, did they know that Michael Cohen was lobbying? Did they not know it? And if they knew about it, why didn’t they have Michael Cohen register as a lobbyist in connection with the work that he was doing? No one has really talked about that, but I think that needs to be inquired into.”
Avenatti also noted that he might have a “much longer list” than has been reported of companies and individuals that have paid to become Cohen’s clients.
He also issued a warning:
“If folks want to continue to hide this stuff and cover it up, I think it’s fantastic, because I’m going to out ’em. We’re going to out ’em, we’re going to bring all this stuff to light. So, if you’re out there and you have stuff relating to your relationships with Michael Cohen that you’re concerned are going to come out, you should be concerned, because they are going to come out. So, you better come clean to the American people, you better try to get out in front of this, period. And that’s a stern warning this Saturday morning.”
Watch Avenatti’s comments, starting at 6:00:
A lot already has come out this week regarding Squire Patton Boggs, including a Wall Street Journal report that linked the lobbying firm with Jared Kushner’s family business and its efforts to seek wealthy Chinese investors through a government visa program and the Florida–based company U.S. Immigration Fund LLC. That company was one of five clients Cohen brought to Squire Patton and Boggs, the Journal reported.
U.S. Immigration Fund was the company that organized a trip last year to China for Kushner Cos. officials who sought wealthy immigrants to invest $500,000 in various real estate projects. References to both President Trump and Jared Kushner were made during recruitment presentations on the trip.
The Journal also noted that Squire Patton Boggs received $370,000 from the U.S. Immigration Fund to lobby U.S. lawmakers.
“What Michael is doing is showing how the money came in. What [special counsel] Robert Mueller is interested in is where and when—how it flowed out of this LLC and whether the Big Kahuna, Mr. Trump, had any portion of that,” Georgetown law professor Paul Butler told Reid.