- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 12, 2018

Michael Cohen, President Trump’s personal attorney, unsuccessfully offered his consulting services to Ford Motor Co. following Mr. Trump’s election victory, multiple news outlets reported Friday.

Mr. Cohen contacted the automaker’s D.C. office in January 2017, the same month Mr. Trump assumed office, and offered his services while touting his proximity to the president, The Wall Street Journal first reported, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter.

Mr. Cohen’s offer was ultimately rebuffed, the report said.

Special counsel Robert Mueller became aware of the offer while investigating the 2016 election, and he subsequently requested records about the outreach and interviewed Ford’s head of global government relations, Ziad Ojakli, the report said.

Ford did not immediately comment on the report.

Representatives for neither Mr. Cohen nor Mr. Mueller commented on the pitched Ford deal, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Mr. Cohen’s conduct has faced heightened scrutiny in recent months after it was revealed that he set up a company in late 2016, Essential Consultants LLC, and then used it to pay $130,000 to Stephanie Clifford, an porn actress known professionally as Stormy Daniels, in order to keep her from discussing details of her alleged affair with Mr. Trump.

Ms. Cliffords’ attorney released a document earlier this week identifying some of Essential Consultants’ other clients, including pharmaceutical company Novartis AG and AT&T, among others, raising questions given Mr. Cohen’s proximity to the president.

Michael Avenatti, Ms. Clifford’s attorney, corroborated the Wall Street Journal report when reached late by The Detroit Free Press newspaper late Friday.

“I can confirm that Mr. Cohen solicited Ford Motor Company,” Mr. Avenatti said. “It was in late 2016 into ‘17. On multiple occasions. There was no policy. He was trying to sell access to the president. My understanding is that it was by phone and electronic communication.”

Another attorney for Mr. Trump, meanwhile, said Friday that the president wasn’t privy to the millions of dollars Mr. Cohen received from his corporate clients.

“The president had no knowledge of it,” Rudolph W. Giuliani, a former New York mayor, said in an interview with the Huffington Post.

The Department of Justice appointed Mr. Mueller last May to investigate allegations involving Russia’s involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential race, as well as “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.”

FBI agents in New York executed search warrants at Mr. Cohen’s home, office and hotel room last month, and Mr. Cohen’s attorney said afterwards that the raids were based in part on a referral from the special counsel’s office.

Novartis AG and AT&T both acknowledged cooperating with the special counsel’s office after details of their deals with Mr. Cohen emerged earlier this week.

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