It seems the president’s web of lies is really more a tangled ball of yarn, as fallout from yesterday’s bombshell revelation by Michael Avenatti (and later confirmed by every major news outlet except for Fox News, to the surprise of no one) continues to reveal one deception after another.
According to a report released by STAT News, a publication focused on the pharmaceutical industry, Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen wasn’t just funneling money through a secret slush fund, he was also acting as a lobbyist for a major pharmaceutical company.
Early in 2017, as Trump was preparing to replace and dismantle the legacy of Barack Obama, Cohen reached out to pharmaceutical company Novartis via then-CEO Joe Jimenez. According to a Novartis employee familiar with the matter, Cohen promised Jimenez access to Trump and influential officials in the new administration.
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Jimenez spoke to Cohen directly and subsequently instructed his team to make a deal with him. Just a few weeks later in February of 2017, Cohen signed a $1.2 million contract with the company. Novartis hoped Cohen could help navigate the impending changes under the new administration – from plans to change or dismantle the Affordable Care Act to the Tax Scam.
The anonymous Novartis employee elaborated on the exchange to STAT:
“He reached out to us. With a new administration coming in, basically, all the traditional contacts disappeared and they were all new players. We were trying to find an inroad into the administration. Cohen promised access to not just Trump, but also the circle around him. It was almost as if we were hiring him as a lobbyist.”
To recap: ahead of the planned implementation of two of Trump’s grandest campaign promises excluding the wall, a company poised to profit off of both the erasure of the Affordable Care Act and the tax break for billionaires paid the president’s personal attorney for “guidance” on changes which hadn’t happened.
Sure, doesn’t sound illegal at all.
Reportedly, the employee couldn’t make sense of the decision to move forward with this agreement either, especially considering Cohen had no experience in healthcare himself and had only been Washington-adjacent for a few weeks. Cohen and Jimenez were not available when STAT reached out for comment.
However, Novartis allowed the contract to lapse just over a month later because a March meeting between Novartis lobbying executives and Cohen went nowhere. Novartis came to the conclusion Cohen and Essential Consultants (Cohen’s firm which accepted the payments) might not actually be able to accomplish anything, a sentiment confirmed by the inside source.e
“At first, it all sounded impressive, but toward the end of the meeting, everyone realized this was a probably a slippery slope to engage him. So they decided not to really engage Cohen for any activities after that.”
Michael Cohen is truly the best attorney in the history of mankind.
Even more hysterical was the company’s choice to allow the contract to lapse instead of opting for a cancellation. “It might have caused anger,” the insider said of President Trump.
Cohen attempted to cozy up to Jimenez’s replacement at Novartis, Vasant Narasimhan, but Narasimhan expressed no interest in renewing the contract as it approached its lapse date.
A Novartis spokesman also said on Wednesday that Narasimhan had no involvement with the contract, stating, “this episode was clearly a mistake.”
As expected, Robert Mueller and his team were already aware of this agreement and have interviewed several current and former employees of Novartis, including Jimenez.
The company’s Wednesday statement on the matter indicated the company “cooperated fully” and “provided all the information requested. Novartis considers this matter closed as to itself and is not aware of any outstanding questions regarding the agreement.”
As previously mentioned, news of this contract dropped Tuesday on Twitter by Michael Avenatti, the lawyer representing Stephanie “Stormy Daniels” Clifford in her ongoing suit against Cohen. The connection between a major pharmaceutical company and well-known adult film actor seems impossible, until you remember Clifford was paid a $130,000 hush settlement by Cohen’s company, Essential Consultants.
Avenatti posted a document to his website proving its existence and ushered Novartis into the spotlight in the process.
This means that Essential Consultants received money from a Russian oligarch, a major telecom company, and a major pharmaceutical company only to turn around and pay off Trump’s legion of trysts and follies.
“Be Best” indeed, Trump.