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Trump ex-lawyer Cohen reveals Novartis pushed him to lobby

Published on 28/02/19 at 11:07am
Image Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Among the swirling storm emanating from the testimony of Donald Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen to the House Oversight Committee, one of the many controversial claims to arise is that pharma firm Novartis allegedly attempted to coax him the President’s “fixer” into lobbying government on its behalf.

News broke in May last year that Novartis had made payments to the value of $400,000 to Cohen’s consultancy firm, Essential Consultants. This figure was soon revealed to be three times that at $1.2 million, ostensibly paying for Novartis to establish a relationship which would allow them insight into the workings of the Trump administration.

“Novartis sent me their contract, which stated specifically that they wanted me to lobby. That they wanted me to provide access to government, including the president,” Cohen said in his testimony. “That paragraph was crossed out by me, initialled, and written in my own handwriting that says I will not lobby or do government relations work.”

Cohen further revealed that this correspondence manifested into only around six phone calls with the company. The controversy of these curious payments shook Novartis when they emerged, with former CEO Joe Jimenez, who co-signed the contract, claiming that the company had wanted to terminate the contract and fire Cohen, but chose not to for fear of litigation.  

Matt Fellows

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