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I have seen enough dumb, short-sighted corporate behavior that part of me might actually believe that multi-billion dollar outfits like AT&T and Novartis would be stupid enough to pay a penny-ante crook like Michael Cohen for the influence that they thought he could get them.

The problem with this theory—that Cohen was out on his own, using his White House connections to drum up business for himself—is the question of where the money went.