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Shortly after the 2016 election, Novartis chief executive Joe Jimenez was looking for a consultant to help understand how the Trump administration would approach health policy. So, when a friend suggested Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, Jimenez took the call, and personally suggested following up, according to a letter Novartis sent to senators in June and publicly released Friday.

These previously unreported details provide a new look into how Cohen convinced a major global pharmaceutical company to spend over a million dollars for advice about the administration, a deal the company later characterized as a “mistake.”


The relationship between Novartis and Cohen came to light in May, when it was revealed that Novartis paid Cohen $1.2 million for advice about how to work with the Trump administration, but that Cohen was not actually able to help the company. Novartis’ general counsel has since resigned from the company, and Jimenez left Novartis in February of this year.

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