In addition to being on the receiving end of an investigation for bank fraud and campaign finance violations, it appears that genius lawyer Michael Cohen is now under investigation for illegal lobbying.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Manhattan federal prosecutors are currently trying to determine whether or not Cohen engaged in secret, illegal lobbying when he took money from AT&T and Novartis (about $1.8 million total) to provide “insights” into what goes on in that skull of Donald Trump’s.
Cohen also took $500,000 from Columbus Nova, a company that has ties to Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg. (At one time, Columbus Nova had a minority stake in Gawker Media Group, which owned multiple Gizmodo Media Group properties before its bankruptcy in 2016.)
In addition, the BBC reported last month that Cohen took at least $400,000 from the Ukrainian government to arrange a meeting between Trump and Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko during the latter’s visit to Washington in June 2017. And on top of that, the former head of Qatar’s $100 billion sovereign wealth fund told the Intercept last month that Cohen solicited $1 million from him for consulting on infrastructure projects that it should back. (The head, Ahmed Al-Rumaihi, never paid him.)
Cohen has never registered as a lobbyist for either domestic or foreign entities, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Journal says that federal investigators have contacted both AT&T and Novartis in “recent weeks,” but that federal prosecutors haven’t interviewed any Novartis employees. Cohen didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Yesterday, the New York Daily News reported that Cohen was telling friends that he was expecting to be placed under arrest soon, and CNN reported the same day that Cohen had split from his legal team. And today, CBS News reported that Cohen believes Trump and his allies are turning on him. All in all, just not a great week for Michael Cohen.