"Hiring Michael Cohen Was A Big Mistake" Says AT&T CEO As He "Forces Out" Exec Behind Cohen Contract

Following the overnight report that AT&T had paid Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen $600,000 for "insight" on the company's Time Warner merger, moments ago AT&T's top Washington executive and policy chief, and the man who authorized the Cohen payment - Robert Quinn - was forced out of the company, and is "retiring" after what AT&T called a reputation-damaging and mistaken hiring of Mike Cohen.

AT&T executive Bob Quinn arriving for a meeting with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower; source: WSJ/Reuters

The company told employees in an internal memo Friday that Bob Quinn was retiring, but as the WSJ reported, a person familiar with the matter said Mr. Quinn was being forced to leave.

“Our company has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons these last few days and our reputation has been damaged,” CEO Randall Stephenson said in a memo to employees. “There is no other way to say it – AT&T hiring Michael Cohen as a political consultant was a big mistake.”

Full letter below:

However, it was not immediately clear why the hiring of Cohen was a big mistake: because it was corrupt, or because it failed to achieve the intended goal and "bribe" its way into a done deal with Time Warner, and instead all AT&T got for its $600,000 were several close on the record interviews with Robert Mueller and a lawsuit with the DOJ which has pushed the AT&T-Time Warner deal on the verge of collapse.

Of course, the simplest explanation is that "it was a big mistake" because... AT&T got caught.