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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.
AT&T confirmed Tuesday night that was paying Michael Cohen, an attorney for President Donald Trump, through his shell company Essential Consultants LLC, a claim first made in an explosive report from lawyer Michael Avenatti.Avenatti, who represents adult film star Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, in her lawsuit against Cohen and the president, posted the report on Twitter, which also alleges that Cohen received $500,000 from a Russian oligarch shortly after the 2016 election. AT&T’s statement confirms the veracity of the report in part, which has also been supported by reporting from the Daily Beast.

“Essential Consulting was one of several firms we engaged in early 2017 to provide insights into understanding the new administration,” the company said. “They did no legal or lobbying work for us, and the contract ended in December 2017.”

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But as many observers pointed out, the payment raises troubling questions about pay-for-play. AT&T’s business was highly relevant to decisions Trump made during his first year in office, including his administration’s moves on net neutrality and its actions against a proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner.

Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.

Democratic nominee Joe Biden speaking in Manitowoc, WI

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Today in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, Joe Biden spoke about the toll of coronavirus, which has now officially passed 200,000. "What worries me now is we've been living with this pandemic for so long, I worry we're risking becoming numb to the toll that it's taken on us," the Democratic nominee warned. "We can't let that happen."

How did that happen? How did America lose 200,000 people to a horrendous death, with no end in sight? That tragedy can be traced directly to a vacuum of leadership in the White House, as Biden remarked. But he also saw behind that lack of presidential fortitude to its deeper cause: Donald Trump simply never cared how many of us die and he still doesn't. The evidence is in Trump's own behavior at his "superspreader rallies" – where he always protects himself while leaving his own followers to risk illness and worse.

Watch Biden describe the moral emptiness inside this president.