Rudy Giuliani says Trump "denied" AT&T-Time Warner merger

Cohen investigation

President Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani told HuffPost Friday that Mr. Trump "denied the merger" between AT&T and Time Warner, which contracits the White House and the Department of Justice earlier statements that the president was not involved. Giuliani's comments come after it was revealed AT&T's senior executive vice president of external and legislative affairs, Bob Quinn, was involved in agreeing to pay Cohen a reported $600,000 for what the company called "insights" into the Trump administration's positions on telecom regulation, tax reform and other issues. 

"Whatever lobbying was done didn't reach the president," Giuliani told HuffPost. "He did drain the swamp ... The president denied the merger. They didn't get the result they wanted."

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, however, insisted in a statement that the Justice Department denied the merger. 

"The Department of justice denied the merger," she told CBS News in a brief statement. 

Giuliani has not clarified or changed his statement. 

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said Friday that hiring Cohen was a "big mistake." 

AT&T: "Big mistake" to hire Trump's lawyer

Mr. Trump vowed during the 2016 campaign to stop the merger, but Mr. Trump's adviser Kellyanne Conway told CBS News last year the White House isn't involved in the Justice Department's antitrust review of the merger. An official in the agency's antitrust division also said the White House was not directed it on how to proceed on the transaction. 

The Department of Justice in November sued to stop AT&T's proposed $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner, saying the merger would harm competition, lessen innovation and result in higher costs for consumers.  

Giuliani wasn't part of Mr. Trump's team at the time, so it's unclear how he would know if there was any involvement by Mr. Trump. 

Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti tweeted Friday that this was "major news" if Giuliani "didn't misspeak."

Giuliani gave two other interviews on Friday. Giuliani told The Associated Press on Friday that any preparation with Mr. Trump for a possible interview with federal investigators would likely be delayed until after the June 12 summit in Singapore because "I wouldn't want to take his concentration off something far, far more important." 

Giuliani said the question of the interview would be resolved by May 17, the one-year anniversary of special counsel Robert Mueller's appointment, but "several things delayed us, with the primary one being the whole situation with North Korea."

"The president has been very busy," Giuliani said. "It really would be pretty close to impossible to spend the amount of time on it we would need."  

Giuliani also suggested to the AP that special counsel Mueller's team indicated it would not attempt to indict Mr. Trump. 

And Giuliani told Business Insider he would not be engaging with Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels' attorney. Avenatti earlier this week challenged Giuliani to a debate, but Giuliani told Business Insider "I don't get involved with pimps." 

"The media loves to give him room because he makes these roundabout charges and they turn out to mean nothing," Giuliani said. "I think he's going to get himself in serious trouble."

Avenatti revealed earlier this week that Cohen received money from several corporations, including AT&T, and a Russian oligarch through the same shell corporation he used to pay Daniels $130,000.

Giuliani, who joined Mr. Trump's legal team last month, has already given interviews that have made a splash. In an interview on Sean Hannity's show on Fox News, Giuliani said reimbursed Cohen the $130,000. Mr. Trump had earlier said he did not know about the payments, but after Giuliani's comments, Mr. Trump appeared to agree with Guiliani's statement, tweeting that he paid Cohen through a monthly retainer.

Mr. Trump then said Giuliani "wasn't totally familiar with everything." Giuliani walked back the comments later with a statment that said  "the payment was made to resolve a personal and false allegation in order to protect the President's family ... it would have been done in any event, whether he was a candidate or not."