- Lucas Jackson/Reuters
- President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen reportedly offered Qatar advice and access to the Trump administration in late 2016 in exchange for at least $1 million.
- In December 2016, Qatar’s foreign investment fund was seeking to financially back US infrastructure projects, to which Cohen offered to play the middle-man as part of a $1 million fee.
- Cohen denied that he solicited funds from the former head of the Qatar Investment Authority Ahmed al-Rumaihi, although several sources and Rumaihi himself confirmed the discussions took place.
- Cohen has leveraged his close ties to Trump in order to receive millions of dollars in consulting deals with domestic and foreign companies, but his meeting with Rumaihi may signal the first time Cohen solicited payment from a foreign government.
President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen reportedly offered Qatar advice and access to the Trump administration in late 2016 in exchange for at least $1 million.
During a meeting in December 2016, Michael Cohen met with the former head of the Qatar Investment Authority, Ahmed al-Rumaihi, to discuss potential Qatari financial backing towards US infrastructure. Al-Rumaihi told The Intercept in a series of interviews that Cohen suggested Qatar would invest in factories in Midwestern towns, a move that would “revitalize the city” and would be great PR for Qatar’s image on the American stage.
Al-Rumaihi said Cohen offered to put Qatar in contact with “partners” who would put in “know-how,” if Qatar invested billions into the projects. Rumaihi said when he asked Cohen for specifics on more important projects that Qatar could invest in, Cohen replied he would first need $1 million in order to consult as part of his fee.
Al-Rumaihi told the Intercept that ultimately Qatar declined Cohen’s offer, and never paid Cohen for his consulting fees. Cohen’s recently revealed financial records confirm that no payment was made by al-Rumaihi or any companies connected to him.
Cohen denied the allegations that he solicited funds from al-Rumaihi. “These falsehoods and gross inaccuracies are only being written in the hopes of maligning me for sensationalistic purposes. The truth will prevail and will ultimately be proven in court and not by pundits,” Cohen told the Intercept.
Still, several sources confirmed the incident took place, according to The Washington Post, adding that Cohen specifically offered advice and access on Trump’s incoming administration.
The meeting between Cohen and al-Rumaihi occurred close in time to a meeting between Qatari foreign minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and former national security adviser Michael Flynn at Trump Tower, sources told the Post. Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief White House strategist, was also present at the meeting, the sources said.
Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniel’s lawyer, tweeted a screenshot from video footage that day showing al-Rumaihi, Flynn and Michael Cohen, which called into question the nature of their business dealings at the time. Al-Rumaihi said he did not meet with Flynn, despite being at Trump Tower at the time.
While details have slowly emerged on how Cohen leveraged his close ties to Trump in order to receive millions of dollars in consulting deals with domestic and foreign companies, his meeting with al-Rumaihi could signal the first time Cohen tried to solicit payment from a foreign government.
Records show Cohen approached a series of businesses following the 2016 election, and offered unprecedented access to the President, also his long-term client.
Corporations solicited by Cohen include Novartis, a Swiss pharmaceutical firm; Korea Aerospace Industries, a South Korean defense contractor; and AT&T, the massive US telecom. All business confirmed payment to a Cohen-linked LLC named Essential Consulting, totaling more than $150,000 for services.
Reports indicate other companies, including Ford and Uber, turned down Cohen’s offers.