Michael Cohen Offered Qatar Investments Access To Trump. The Offer Was Declined.
Correction, May 17, 2:20 p.m.: The story was edited to reflect that Cohen solicited Qatar Investments, a division of Qatar Investment Authority, and not the government itself.
Michael Cohen, President Trump’s personal attorney, solicited a payment of at least $1 million from Qatar Investment Authority in late 2016, in exchange for access to and advice about the then-incoming administration, according to the recipient of the offer and several others with knowledge of the episode.
Qatar declined the offer, which came a few days before a Dec. 12 meeting that year at Trump Tower between the Persian Gulf state’s foreign minister and Michael Flynn, who became Trump’s first national security adviser, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.
Cohen did not participate in the official meetings but spoke separately to a member of the Qatari delegation, Ahmed al-Rumaihi, who at the time was head of the investments division of the country’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority.
Rumaihi said Wednesday that Cohen first asked for the money, and Rumaihi refused, several days before the Trump Tower meeting, when the two saw each other at the Peninsula Hotel in New York. “He just threw it out there” as a cost of “doing business,” Rumaihi said.
Cohen spoke to him again at Trump Tower when the two men were outside the meeting between Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Thani and Flynn. Neither attended the closed-door session, and “I stood outside in the hall,” Rumaihi said, as the delegation went in. But “it was clear that the deal was not going to happen,” said Ruhaimi, who is no longer part of the Qatari government.
Cohen and his lawyer did not respond to requests for comment.