Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for Stormy Daniels, is a fixture on CNN and also appears to be weaponized by someone to fight battles against Trump on a broader scale with the Stormy Daniels dispute the excuse, not the reason, Avenatti is involved.
Richard Delmar, counsel for the inspector general, said Wednesday that an inquiry was opened because of allegations that financial records of a shell company used by Cohen, Essential Consultants, were "improperly disseminated". Often, they provide information about the inner-workings of an important government office, such as the White House and leadership in Congress. AT&T and the health giant Novartis confirmed to reporters that they'd hired Cohen for "insights" on policies that Trump might pursue.
Cohen has told associates that Avenatti's claims are overheated, and he has maintained that he has not done anything wrong, according to a person familiar with the attorney's views but not authorized to speak publicly about private conversations. Their contract ended this past December, the company said.
Such a confidential relationship would not violate federal lobbying laws if Cohen did not seek to influence Trump on the companies' behalf. "Michael offered that. He didn't do anything wrong, he did what lots of people have done over the years".
"I talked to the President only one time about this and that was the first day it came out and he wasn't aware of that situation that now, I guess, the facts are getting a little contorted", Giuliani said when asked about Cohen's pitch and if the President knew about it.
"In response, Putin said, 'Donald can spend allowance however he wants'".
In the wake of Tuesday's revelations about millions of dollars being paid by several companies to Michael Cohen, which looked an terrible lot like selling access to Trump, we have the first report of an inside source at one such company, Novartis, being approached by Cohen for that exact quid pro quo exchange. One company that made a $500,000 payment was Columbus Nova, the US affiliate of an investment firm with ties to a sanctioned Russian oligarch.
Avenatti, who has not disclosed where he got his information or released any documents, declined to comment on the probe.
Still, anyone with a working moral compass and a modicum of foresight probably wouldn't put any money into a secret shell company run by the president's weird personal attorney and taxicab baron, who also happens to be a deputy chairman of the Republican Party's finance committee and part of the permanent cast of The Real World: Russian Campaign Collusion.
Avenatti alleged that the company made four $50,000 payments to Cohen totaling $200,000 in late 2017 and early 2018.
A spokesperson for Vekselberg, who is the biggest investor in Columbus Nova, said he had nothing to do with the decision to hire Essential Consulting.
If Trump had some kind of legal exposure, Giuliani said, Russian Federation special counsel Robert Mueller would not have passed on the information to federal prosecutors in NY who are investigating Cohen's business dealings.