Trump lawyer asked Qatar for $1m for access to president

US President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen asked the Qatari government for at least $1 million in December 2016 in exchange for access or insight into the Trump administration, the Washington Post reported yesterday.

Qatar turned down Cohen’s offer, made weeks before Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, the paper reported, citing several people with knowledge of the situation. Other media outlets also reported that Cohen requested money from Ahmed Al-Rumaihi, who at the time was head of the investments division of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund.

Reuters could not immediately independently verify the reports.

Cohen made the solicitation to Al-Rumaihi at a meeting in Trump Tower in New York on 12 December 2016, the Post reported.

Al-Rumaihi was at Trump Tower as part of a Qatari delegation that included Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Al Thani, the paper said.

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Al-Rumaihi told Cohen that Qatar expected to invest in Trump’s plans to solicit investment in a US infrastructure programme, the Post reported. Cohen offered to help find projects for Qatar to sponsor, in exchange for a $1 million upfront fee, the newspaper reported.

The request to Qatar would be the latest such exchange offered by Cohen to be made public following acknowledgements by US and European companies last week that they paid Cohen, who was Trump’s lawyer for about a decade and self-described “fixer” for Trump.

Prosecutors are investigating Cohen for possible bank and tax fraud, possible campaign law violations linked to a hush-money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, and perhaps other matters related to Trump’s presidential campaign, a person familiar with the probe has said.

Following a trip to Saudi Arabia in May 2017, Trump backed a Saudi-led boycott of Qatar accusing the small Gulf state of backing terrorism. Charges Doha vehemently denies.

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