On Tuesday (May 8), Michael Avenatti, the attorney who is representing Stephanie Clifford/Stormy Daniels in her non-disclosure agreement (NDA) and defamation cases against Donald Trump and Michael Cohen, released an executive summary exclusively to CNN. The report detailed the results of their investigatory work regarding the $130,000 hush payment from Cohen to Daniels on behalf of then-candidate Donald Trump. Their investigation showed the account used for the payment was linked to Russia.

It should be noted that the Avenatti report was fact-checked by The New York Times and Wall Street Journal, and upon CNN's receipt of the document, their reporters were also able to verify the contents.

And as such, the information proved to be accurate thus far but more details will need to be corroborated and authenticated, reported CNN's John King.

Follow the money

According to Avenatti, his investigation uncovered the many business clients that Cohen took on since 2015, particularly around the time of the presidential campaign election, as this was the time period Avenatti was most interested in knowing about. What he found was that Cohen's shell company, Essential Consultants, was formed right before his client, Stormy, was paid the hush money at the end of October 2016, just days before the election.

Shortly after the Stormy-payment was made, a large sum of money was paid to Cohen and other subsequent payments.

This one particular payment was of interest because it was a $500,000 payment from a wealthy Russian oligarch, Viktor Vekselberg, who has close ties to Russia's President, Vladimir Putin. The money was part of a series of payments and paid after the election. It is possible that this was the repayment for Stormy and a means to replenish Cohen's bank account, said Avenatti.

However, it wasn't just the billionaire's half a million dollar payment that drew further scrutiny, it was the timing of the payment and the total amount paid between the time of the election up until 2018 from Russians and other US entities. It is believed that this is what caught the eye of the Robert Mueller's special counsel team.

Russian money

In the early part of 2018, Viktor Vekselberg flew into the US on his private jet and landed in New York. He was greeted at the airport by federal agents who seized his phone and spoke to him about the nature of his business in the US, according to CNN reports. The billionaire was more than cooperative with the agents and was later questioned by Robert Mueller and afterward placed on the US' sanctions.

It turns out that the Russian oligarch made large contributions to Trump's campaign, victory events, and inauguration. He also has a cousin in New York, Andrew Intrater, who runs a US-affiliate company, Columbus Nova. This is how money was sent to the US and found its way to Cohen's bank account from the Vekelsberg's Russian Conglomerate, Renova Group, reported CNN.

It wasn't just the Russians giving Cohen money after the election, there were US companies paying Cohen too. But why?

US money

According to the executive summary, and later publicly confirmed in press releases, the companies who were named in the report paid Cohen hundreds of thousands of dollars for access to the president. In response to Avenatti's report, AT&T said their reason for paying Cohen $200,000 was to get "insights into the new administration." The same went for Novartis, a big pharma company, which paid $ 399,920 and had already spoken to Robert Mueller. And although Korea Aerospace Industries which paid Cohen $150,000 did not release early statements, they find themselves in the same boat.

The information Avenatti reported was a bit shocking to say the least, and just when America began to sober, another shock surfaced on Thursday (May 10). The totals were incorrect. It turns out, the amounts were nearly three times higher. AT & T actually paid $600,000, and Novartis $1, 200,000. Understanding the backlash, executives from both AT & T and Novartis sent a apologetic memo to employees on Friday (May 11) noting it was a "big mistake" to hire Cohen, reported CNN.

And to be clear, pay-to-play is not illegal. This is a common practice used by registered lobbyists to get their agendas heard by certain lawmakers. Cohen's problem is, he isn't a lobbyist; nor did he follow through on his agreements he made with the companies like Novartis, according to their own media statements.

Run the numbers

If we calculate the initial amounts reported paid to Cohen by the four companies, the total is $1,249,920 which is just $50,000 shy of the $1.3 million figure Rudy Giuliani tossed out during one of his TV tour interviews with ABC News. This magical number Rudy referenced was the amount he said he would have paid for the Stormy-payoff because, the way he saw it, $130,000 was a "nuisance payment."

Giuliani's math would appear to be just an eery coincidence because the actual amount reported to date is $2,450, 000. And this was just from those four companies. The numbers do not reflect the lines of credit Cohen took out during the 2016 campaign which, according to The Wall Street Journal, was over $770,000.

So total corporation payments, donations and bank loans given to Cohen could be well over $4 million.

When Avenatti went public with his report, Michael Cohen and his lawyers pushed back by filing a claim in court on May 9 asserting Avenatti illegally obtained Michael Cohen's bank records and published false information about the fixer. Avenatti denied this, and Cohen's assertion has not been found to be true. Cohen claimed the information received was from two different Michael Cohens in other countries.

Regardless of Avenatti's summary, Michael Cohen is linked to two investigations, the Russia probe, and his own criminal investigation. All of this information will certainly be considered and scrutinized by both courts. As for now, there is a lot of smoke and America will have to wait until all becomes clear.