WASHINGTON – Buzzfeed News has been exposed for botching a major report that made fresh accusations of obstruction against President Trump.
In a highly unusual step, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team is refuting the Buzzfeed report in which Trump’s ex-attorney Michael Cohen allegedly claimed Trump told him to lie to Congress.
The typically tight-lipped team released a statement Friday night saying: "BuzzFeed's description of specific statements to the special counsel's office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen's congressional testimony are not accurate."
When the report came out, Democrats had immediately assumed it was legitimate and had already started demanding new investigations into the alleged obstruction of justice by President Trump regarding the Russia collusion investigation.
The report cited two anonymous law enforcement officials who supposedly saidCohen told special prosecutor Robert Mueller that the president told him to lie about a developing business deal with Russia.
The report claims that then-candidate Trump supported a plan to visit Russia during the presidential campaign in order to meet with President Vladimir Putin to negotiate the project. Cohen says he told Congress the business negotiations ended months earlier than they actually did in order to minimize Trump's involvement with Moscow.
According to BuzzFeed, the claim is supported by other witnesses, along with emails, text messages and documents from within the Trump administration.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) insists the allegation that the president "may have suborned perjury before our committee" is "among the most serious to date."
"We will do what's necessary to find out if it's true," he warned in a tweet Thursday.
However, President Trump once again accused his former attorney of lying to reduce his prison sentence. "Kevin Corke, @FoxNews "Don't forget, Michael Cohen has already been convicted of perjury and fraud, and as recently as this week, the Wall Street Journal has suggested that he may have stolen tens of thousands of dollars...." Trump quoted the Fox News correspondent. "Lying to reduce his jail time! Watch father-in-law!"
Kevin Corke, @FoxNews "Don't forget, Michael Cohen has already been convicted of perjury and fraud, and as recently as this week, the Wall Street Journal has suggested that he may have stolen tens of thousands of dollars...." Lying to reduce his jail time! Watch father-in-law!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 18, 2019
The president's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, echoed his boss, saying, "If you believe Cohen I can get you a great deal on the Brooklyn Bridge."
White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley was equally skeptical of Cohen's credibility. While he didn't outright deny the allegations, he did point out that "the premise is ridiculous."
"We're also talking about a person like Michael Cohen, who quite frankly, has been proven to be a liar," he told Fox News.
Gidley went on to take aim at BuzzFeed, suggesting the publication lost the right to bill itself as a credible news source after it published an anti-Trump dossier by former British spy Christopher Steele during the 2016 presidential campaign.
"This is absolutely ludicrous that we are giving any type of prudence or credibility to a news outlet like BuzzFeed," he said. "They are irresponsible, responsible totally and completely for the publishing of a totally and completely false dossier."
"This is why the president refuses to give any credence or credibility to news outlets because they have no ability to corroborate anything they're putting out there," he charged. "They are just using innuendo, shady sources."