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The CEO Of AT&T Says Hiring Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen Was "A Big Mistake"

"Our past association with Cohen was a serious misjudgment."

Last updated on May 11, 2018, at 10:26 a.m. ET

Posted on May 11, 2018, at 10:13 a.m. ET

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson
Brendan Mcdermid / Reuters

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson

The CEO of AT&T said Friday that hiring President Donald Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, as a political consultant "was a big mistake."

"Our company has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons these last few days and our reputation has been damaged," Randall Stephenson said in an email to employees Friday morning. "There's no other way to say it — AT&T hiring Michael Cohen as a political consultant was a big mistake."

The telecommunications company said earlier this week that it had hired Cohen's company, Essential Consultants, in 2017 to "provide insights into understanding the new administration." AT&T maintained the company did no legal or lobbying work for it, and the contract ended in December.

Stephenson said Friday that Cohen was hired by the company's Washington, DC, team under a one-year contract at $50,000 per month.

The CEO called his company's past association with Cohen "a serious misjudgment."

"To be clear, everything we did was done according to the law and entirely legitimate," he wrote in the memo. "In this instance, our Washington D.C. team's vetting process clearly failed. I take responsibility for that."

Stephenson also announced that Bob Quinn, the company's senior vice president for external and legal, will be retiring.

The CEO also said the company was contacted by special counsel Robert Mueller's office in November and December of 2017 and cooperated fully.

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