Senate claims Novartis misled public on Trump lawyer deal
A report released by the United States Senate has found that Novartis’ relationship with Donald Trump’s long-time lawyer Michael Cohen “was longer and more detailed than previously disclosed by the company” and that Novartis “explicitly sought to hire Michael Cohen to provide the company ‘access to key policymakers’ in the Trump administration.”
Novartis had claimed that correspondence between itself and Cohen had ended one month after they had entered a $1.2 million contract with Cohen’s consulting company as they could not “provide the services that Novartis had anticipated.”
However Novartis Chief Executive Joe Jimenez continued to communicate with Cohen throughout 2017. Their correspondence included email exchanges in which Jimenez put forward “ideas to lower drug costs in the US.”
Several of these ideas later appeared in the Trump administration’s blueprint “American Patients First”. This includes the position against “Global Freeloading” which bears many similarities to Novartis’ position against governments “that artificially undervalue innovative biopharmaceutical products.” This rhetoric later appeared in Trump’s twitter feed in which he condemned “Pfizer and others” for “giving bargain basement prices to other countries in Europe & elsewhere.”
Cohen, who was revealed to have paid porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 in exchange for her silence regarding an alleged affair in 2016, flaunted his connections to prominent officials such as Tony Blair, positioning himself as a point of access for those seeking to influence the Trump administration.
“The sweetheart deals and backdoor promises documented in this report are a snapshot of Cohen’s multimillion dollar side hustle as influencer-in-chief,” commented United States Senator for Oregon, Ron Wyden.
Novartis denied the allegations, saying in a statement: “We disagree with the report’s conclusion that we issued a misleading public statement regarding the extent of our engagement with Mr Cohen.”
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