The group will now report on to the agency's high in-house lawyer.
Hours before her briefing, AT&T's CEO said his company's financial arrangement with Cohen, all $600K of it, had been a big mistake.
LUCAS: Well, first off, we have to remember that Cohen set up a shell company called Essential Consultants in October of 2016, and he used it to pay Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet about what she says was an affair with Trump. Mr. Trump has denied the sexual encounter.
AT&T was one of multiple companies Cohen approached after the election.
The AT&T payments were first revealed by Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who also said a company owned by Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg and other corporations paid Essential Consultants for certain services. "They were asking him to help them get a feel on the administration and where the administration is going", said Scott Amey, general counsel for the Project on Government Oversight.
The new information about Cohen's business ventures comes just weeks after Federal Bureau of Investigation agents raided his home, office and hotel room, seizing financial records and his electronic devices. Cohen's lawyers accused Avenatti of improperly obtaining the bank records in a Wednesday court filing.
AT&T confirmed the payment last week, saying in a statement, "Essential Consulting was one of several firms we engaged in early 2017 to provide insights into understanding the new administration".
The payments dragged Novartis into Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into suspected Russian meddling in the us presidential election. Such advisers can legally work for clients without registering as lobbyists as long as they avoid pitching elected officials on specific policies. It said it hired Cohen for consulting on potential real estate and other investments.
In an interview with HuffPost, Giuliani implied that Trump personally intervened to block the merger between Time Warner and AT&T, which the White House has vociferously denied. She has asked the company to turn over documents by May 25.
On this file photograph, the AT&T emblem is seen on the corporate's headquarters in San Antonio, Texas, Oct. 12, 2006.
Meanwhile, Novartis chief executive Vasant Narasimhan sent an email to employees Thursday calling the company's $1.2 million contract with Cohen a "mistake" and acknowledging that the revelation "was not a good day for Novartis".
"It's an unceremonious departure for someone who exercised awful judgment", Lee Drutman, senior fellow in the political reform program at the New America think-tank, said in an email, "but the company has a reputation to protect". "Have in mind - it was a complete new atmosphere and the standard gamers have been now not in [their] function".
"There doesn't seem to be any involvement with us", he said.
The company needed government approval for its $85 billion takeover of Time Warner Inc. and knew little about the new president, who had criticized the deal on the campaign trail.
Since Cohen is not a registered lobbyist and, additionally, didn't disclose the payments previously, he could be in violation of the Lobbying Disclosure Act for payments from domestic sources or the Foreign Agents Registration Act for foreign sources of such money, experts said.