Politics

Cohen reportedly solicited $1 million from Qatari official


By Karen DeYoung, Josh Dawsey and Rosalind S. Helderman | Washington Post

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, solicited a payment of at least $1 million from the government of Qatar in late 2016, in exchange for access to and advice about the then-incoming administration, according to several people with knowledge of the episode.

The offer, which Qatar declined, came on the margins of a Dec. 12 meeting that year at Trump Tower between the Persian Gulf state’s foreign minister and Michael Flynn, who became Trump’s first national security adviser. Steve Bannon, who became chief White House strategist, also attended, the people said.

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Cohen did not participate in the official meetings but spoke separately to a member of the Qatari delegation, Ahmed al-Rumaihi, who at the time was head of the investments division of the country’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority.

Details emerged last week on how Cohen leveraged his relationship with Trump to receive millions of dollars from companies eager for insight and entree into the new president’s inner circle. They included AT&T, the global pharmaceutical giant Novartis, a Korean defense contractor and Columbus Nova, a New York-based investment firm with ties to a Russian oligarch. All have confirmed payments to Cohen.

But news of the Qatar solicitation marks the first time Cohen is believed to have pitched his influence directly to a foreign government.

A spokesman for Rumaihi, after first saying he would be available for an interview, said he was no longer available late Wednesday. The private company Rumaihi – who is no longer in government – founded last year, Sport Trinity, did not respond to a request for comment. The Intercept reported Wednesday that Rumaihi had confirmed the solicitation, and his refusal to pay Cohen, in an interview.

Cohen and his lawyer did not respond to a request for comment. Qatar’s embassy in Washington declined to comment on the revelations.

Cohen’s offer to Qatar came as he was bragging to others that he could make millions from consulting on Trump and that foreign governments would be interested in having his expertise. At the time, Cohen was also angling, unsuccessfully, as it turned out, to enter the White House, telling associates that he might become counsel or chief of staff.

As Cohen collected clients, he texted associates articles that described him as Trump’s “fixer” and asked them to spread them around.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, which conducted raids last month on Cohen’s New York residence and office, are investigating his activities. Cohen’s attempts to sell access were first publicly alleged last week by Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for Stormy Daniels, an adult-film star who was paid $130,000 by Cohen before the election to keep quiet details of an alleged sexual encounter with Trump.

Trump, who said last month that he knew nothing about the Daniels payment and did …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics

      

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