Los Angeles Times

Michael Hiltzik: Heads should roll over the AT&T and Novartis payments to Michael Cohen's slush fund

Heads should roll over the AT&T and Novartis payments to Michael Cohen's slush fund

Influence-peddling is an aspect of American politics that sends up a distinct odor. But what about the other side of the transaction: influence-buying?

That certainly seems to be what AT&T and Novartis were up to when they funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars to Michael Cohen, President Trump's "fixer," in 2017. At the time, the giant telecommunications company was desperate to head off an administration challenge to its proposed $85-billion takeover of Time Warner, and Novartis had all sorts of concerns about Trump's attitude toward the Affordable Care Act and prescription pricing.

To hear AT&T tell the story, its

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