Michael Cohen threatened CNBC in 2014 that Donald Trump, then just a real estate tycoon, would sue the financial news network after results of a poll in which Trump fared poorly were published, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The online poll, a ranking to determine a list of the country’s top business leaders, came to light again last week when it was revealed Cohen paid a Liberty University vice president thousands of dollars to try to rig it, so Trump would win.
After the poll was over, Trump did not even make the list.
“Mr. Cohen called CNBC and threatened that Mr. Trump would sue over his poor standing in the ranking, arguing that the news channel was ‘ignoring the will of the people,’ the people familiar with the matter said. CNBC didn’t respond to the threat,” the Journal notes, and Trump never sued.
Cohen reportedly offered Liberty University’s Chief Information Officer and Vice President of Analytics, John Gauger, $50,000 to manipulate the poll. According to a Wall Street Journal report, Cohen instead handed Gauger “a blue Walmart bag containing between $12,000 and $13,000 in cash and, randomly, a boxing glove.”
Liberty University, which is headed by one of the first top evangelical leaders to endorse Trump, Jerry Falwell, Jr., defended Gauger last week.
After Trump fared poorly in the poll, he denounced it on Twitter:
Other worthy people were taken off the @CNBC list as well. Stupid poll should be canceled—no credibility.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 10, 2014