Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office on Friday issued a public statement disputing the accuracy of BuzzFeed News’ report that said President Donald Trump’s former attorney told Mueller that the president directed him to lie to Congress, according to AP.
BuzzFeed, citing two unidentified law enforcement officials, reported that Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about a Moscow real estate project and that Cohen told Mueller the president personally instructed him to lie about the timing of the deal. The report said Mueller’s investigators learned about Trump’s directive “through interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents.”
President Trump on Saturday spoke with reporters on the South Lawn: “I thought that the BuzzFeed piece and, maybe equally as bad, the coverage of the BuzzFeed phony story — it was a total phony story. And I appreciate the Special Counsel coming out with a statement last night. I think it was very appropriate that they did so. I very much appreciate that.”
In a brief statement, Mueller’s office said on Friday: “Buzzfeed’s description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and characterisation of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate.”
Earlier on Saturday, Trump tweeted: “Remember it was Buzzfeed that released the totally discredited “Dossier,” paid for by Crooked Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.”
Remember it was Buzzfeed that released the totally discredited “Dossier,” paid for by Crooked Hillary Clinton and the Democrats (as opposition research), on which the entire Russian probe is based! A very sad day for journalism, but a great day for our Country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 19, 2019
On Twitter on Friday morning, Trump charged that Cohen was “Lying to reduce his jail time!”.
Michael Cohen, 52, is expected to begin a three-year prison sentence in March after pleading guilty to federal financial crimes, campaign finance violations and lying to Congress.
The president spoke with reporters on Saturday: “I think that the BuzzFeed piece was a disgrace to our country. It was a disgrace to journalism. And I think also that the coverage by the mainstream media was disgraceful. And I think it’s going to take a long time for the mainstream media to recover its credibility. It’s lost tremendous credibility. And believe me, that hurts me when I see that. I’m the President of this country. Media could pull this country together. It hurts me to say it, but mainstream media has truly lost its credibility.”