Special counsel Robert Mueller's office pushed back on a "bombshell" report published by BuzzFeed News on Thursday, describing elements of the report as "not accurate."
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, a spokesperson for special counsel Robert Mueller's office wrote:
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.
BuzzFeed had cited two anonymous law enforcement sources in its report alleging that President Donald Trump had instructed his former lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress and that Cohen briefed the Trump family on a regular basis about a real estate project in Russia.
"Now the two sources have told BuzzFeed News that Cohen also told the special counsel that after the election, the president personally instructed him to lie — by claiming that negotiations ended months earlier than they actually did — in order to obscure Trump’s involvement," BuzzFeed reported on Thursday.
The Daily Wire noted on Thursday that in 2017 the "embattled Cohen famously pleaded guilty to falsely testifying to Senate and House intelligence committees about when his negotiations over a potential Trump Tower Moscow project ended; rather than January 2016, as he originally claimed, the negotiations went on months longer. He lied, Cohen claimed, to 'minimize links between the Moscow Project and Individual 1 [generally believed to be Trump,' with the express hope of 'limiting the ongoing Russia investigations.'"
The news from the special counsel's office sparked intense reaction on social media:
RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tweeted: "The entire premise of this story, which received wall-to-wall coverage, was based on 'evidence' the reporters admitted they never even saw. Who could've predicted that the publishers of the phony dossier would get this wrong, too?"
The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald tweeted: "24 straight hours of completely uncritical, mindless, hysterical cable news coverage on a story - complete with calls for impeachment - that Muller's office now says was fundamentally false. This has happened over and over in the Trump/Russia story. Why don't people trust media??"
Fox News investigative reporter Sara Carter tweeted: "I did not believe this story from the beginning- they never saw the documents, had no corroboration from SC office and now they’ve been either played by sources or wrote outright lies. It fails all journalistic standards ..."
The Hill's Buck Sexton tweeted: "Buzzfeed: 'we’ve got Trump nailed. It’s all over.' Wise people: 'wait, do you have evidence? Have you seen it?' Buzzfeed: 'No, but we totes aren’t getting ahead of our skis. We stake our credibility on it.' Special Counsel: 'Turns out Buzzfeed has no credibility.'"
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