Of all the curious revelations emanating out of Washington investigations these days, one in particular caught Outliers' attention.
Pharmaceutical giant Novartis paid $1.2 million to Michael Cohen—the beleaguered attorney best known for negotiating a deal to quiet porn star Stormy Daniels over an alleged dalliance with Donald Trump—for healthcare policy advice. "Novartis believed that Michael Cohen could advise the company as to how the Trump administration might approach certain U.S. healthcare policy matters, including the Affordable Care Act," the company said in a statement to CNBC.
The news broke last week thanks to Daniels' lawyer Michael Avenatti, who released documents that seemed to show hundreds of thousands of dollars also streamed to Cohen from AT&T and Korea Aerospace. The companies all acknowledged the payments.
But things didn't seem to work out with Novartis, which signed a yearlong pact with Cohen in February 2017 for $100,000 a month.
"Following this initial meeting, Novartis determined that Michael Cohen and (his company) Essential Consultants would be unable to provide the services that Novartis had anticipated related to U.S. healthcare policy matters and the decision was taken not to engage further," the company's statement said.
Cohen's lawyers called much of what Avenatti released "completely inaccurate." Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani told Bloomberg News that Trump was "unaware" of the payments to Cohen; Vice President Mike Pence told NBC News it was a "private matter" and "something I don't have any knowledge about."