Vice President Mike Pence said in an interview Thursday that issues surrounding President Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen and consulting fees paid to his firm by U.S. companies are a “private matter”, adding that he knows nothing about it.
Cohen reportedly accepted money from Columbus Nova – an American company with ties to Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg – as well as At&T, Novartis, and Korea Aerospace, for various types of consulting work following Trump’s inauguration.
“Well, what I can say is that that private matter is something I don't have any knowledge about,” Pence told NBC News’s Andrea Mitchell. “I think the White House issued a statement saying the same.”
AT&T and Novartis both indicated they had been questioned regarding the transactions by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team.
The payments to Cohen were made via Essential Consultants, a shell company controlled by the Trump attorney through which he also paid Daniels $130,000 as part of the nondisclosure agreement she now seeks to void. Cohen has said Trump did not know of the payment, a point later disputed by another Trump attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who said last week that the president reimbursed Cohen last year through retainer fees.
Pence also said Thursday that he believes Mueller’s investigation should be drawing to a close:
Mueller’s investigation will hit its one year anniversary next week amid calls from Trump’s team for the probe to wrap up. Giuliani said last week that he believed Mueller is “getting sensitive to the fact they’ve gone on a little bit too long” and Pence said Thursday that “in the interest of the country, I think it's time to wrap it up.”