The bombshell in the report spotlighted $500,000 paid by Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, with close ties to Russia's authoritarian leader Vladimir Putin, after the election. A lawyer for Columbus Nova, in a statement Tuesday, described the money as a consulting fee that had nothing to do with Vekselberg. Both Vekselberg and Renova were hit last month by US sanctions for suspected meddling in the 2016 USA election and other alleged "malign activity".
Daniels is best known as a porn star, stripper, screenwriter and adult film director who has sued President Donald Trump. Mueller asked him about hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments his company's USA affiliate made to Cohen after the election, according to a source familiar with the matter.
The business relationship between Cohen and Vekselberg, as well as the objective of those payments, are unclear.
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"Mr Trump and Mr Cohen have a lot of explaining to do", he wrote, adding a link to a site where the public could view a summary of his findings. Following the payments, totalling just under US$400,000, Mr Trump had a dinner meeting with Novartis's incoming CEO ahead of a World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, Mr Avenatti said. Novartis did not respond to requests for comment. The company, an aircraft manufacturer, is partners with Lockheed Martin, the American defence contractor, in competition for a multi-billion dollar contract to provide trainer jets for the U.S. Air Force that is expected to be awarded this year.
Larry Solomon, a spokesman for AT&T, confirmed the relationship with the firm in an email on Tuesday.
This is one of the newest developments in Mueller's investigation into Russian dealings.