On Thursday, BuzzFeed News published another “bombshell” report that ended up backfiring after Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office took the unusual step of issuing a statement refuting it. President Trump has since pointed to the article as a prime example of how the “Fake News Media” operates.
In the report, BuzzFeed’s Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier say that two unnamed inside sources told the outlet that after the election, Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen told investigators that “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,” and that investigators corroborated this through “interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents.” Both Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. also received “regular, detailed updates” on the Moscow deal, BuzzFeed reported.
Many left-leaning media outlets and figures breathlessly promoted the piece as the most damning evidence yet that Trump should be impeached. But on Friday, Mueller’s office did something it doesn’t usually do: directly refuted the report.
“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,” Mueller spokesman Peter Carr said in a statement late Friday.
BuzzFeed is standing firm, saying in a statement they “remain confident in the accuracy of our report,” but also acknowledging the rather devastating statement in an update to the original piece.
In response, Trump has issued his own statement on social media via a series of tweets and retweets — and made sure to remind the public that BuzzFeed was the site that really pushed the “Russia collusion” story into the national conversation.
“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!” he wrote Friday, citing BuzzFeed’s much-criticized decision to publish the Democrat-funded Steele dossier despite the inability to verify its various salacious claims.
Trump then retweeted a couple of posts by Geraldo Rivera saying, “If the #SpecialCounsel had collusion don’t you think we would have heard it by now? This is history’s longest running smear job,” and calling the latest refuted story “just the most egregious example of the rampant unfairness that has tainted this partisan witch-hunt from the beginning.”
That inspired another post by Trump, “Fake News is truly the ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”
After citing Newt Gingrich comparing the media smear job against him to that against Abraham Lincoln, the president specifically called out BuzzFeed again.
“Many people are saying that the Mainstream Media will have a very hard time restoring credibility because of the way they have treated me over the past 3 years (including the election lead-up), as highlighted by the disgraceful Buzzfeed story & the even more disgraceful coverage!” he wrote.