Wyden wants Novartis to "provide details and supporting documents explaining their business arrangement", commenting that the deal happened at the same time that "the company was negotiating with Medicare on pricing for a drug that costs almost half-a-million dollars to treat cancer".
The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Cohen, Trump's lawyer and "fixer", pitched Uber but was repeatedly denied. The questions come after Stephenson admitted in an email to employees last week that AT&T had entered a consulting contract with Cohen to "help us understand how the President and his administration might approach a wide range of policy issues important to the company, including regulatory reform at the FCC, corporate tax reform and antitrust enforcement". It hasn't commented on how much was paid to Cohen's firm.
Wyden is not content with that explanation.
Still, Stephenson emphasized that the company's dealings with Essential Consultants were all above board and perfectly legal.
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It was confirmed that Cohen receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars from corporations as a consultant in the aftermath of Trump's election. The American public needs to know who at the company signed off on this scheme and what were they expecting in return.
He added that "millions of dollars for access to Trump... is just freaky because I naturally assumed you gained access to the president by finding a golden ticket in your MAGA hat". "If so, did any of those discussions involve a potential work by, or a contract with, Essential Consultants and Mr. Cohen?"
Meanwhile, the ranking Democrat on the Senate health and pensions committee, Patty Murray, has also launched an investigation of Novartis paying millions of dollars for apparent access to the Trump administration. Further information requests include the internal approval process at Novartis, the rationale behind the deal, and copies of internal and external communications.