USA Today: AT&T, Novartis Face Scrutiny Over Hefty Payments to Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen


Watchdog groups slammed President Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen on Wednesday for collecting millions from a firm tied to a Russian oligarch and companies with business before the Trump administration.


Unless Cohen set up meetings with White House officials on behalf of the companies and exceeded the 20% threshold, he probably did not break any federal rules, said Larry Noble, a former Federal Election Commission lawyer and senior director of the Campaign Legal Center watchdog group.

Noble said Trump's unorthodox approach to the presidency, including his penchant to act from the gut and overrule even Cabinet secretaries via Twitter, may help explain why companies sought Cohen's insights.

"Maybe getting strategic advice from people who know (Trump) personally is the smartest move," Noble said.

Trump "treats the government as a family business," he said, "and if you want to have anything done with the family business, your best bet is to get to know what the head of the family wants, what he thinks is important, what makes him happy and what makes him angry."

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