Did Buzzfeed Get It Wrong? A Closer Look at Their Trump-Cohen Article

On Jan. 17, 2019, BuzzFeed reported on what would have been regarded as a groundbreaking report on the Trump-Russia Investigation. The report claimed Donald Trump himself had advised his lawyer, Michael Cohen, to deceive Congress about his plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, Russia. This information is cited in BuzzFeed as coming from “two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter” in an effort to assert credibility. The two sources claim that the President and his children, Ivanka and Donald Jr., were actively involved and regularly received updates from Cohen regarding the real estate plans in Russia during the campaign. During the campaign trail, Trump had publicly denied any financial connections with Russia repeatedly. Though this is a public lie to Trump’s constituents, a lesson in honesty is not the worst Cohen or Trump could face. Cohen already pleaded guilty in November to lying about the real estate in Russia, but the most important question is whether Trump actively gave orders for Cohen to lie. If President Trump is involved and indeed instructed Cohen to lie on his behalf, he could easily be facing impeachment charges.

Courtesy: The Daily Express

 

The BuzzFeed News article not only caught the attention of the American people but of high-ranking senior officials within Congress and the President himself. While Donald Trump did not have much to say in his defense, Mueller’s Office of Special Counsel had their own defense. The day after the BuzzFeed article was posted (Jan. 17) a spokesperson from Mueller’s Office of Special Counsel, Peter Carr, delivered a message:

“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.”

This message was then edited into BuzzFeed’s original report on Jan. 18 as a disclaimer attached to the article. Although Mueller’s Special Counsel has made it known that they do not agree with aspects of BuzzFeed’s report, both journalists who produced the piece, Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier, stand by it. According to NY Magazine, BuzzFeed’s reporters even went as far as to say they received further confirmation last weekend regarding the accuracy of their reporting. Considering that BuzzFeed News has refused to issue a correction and the response from Mueller’s Special Counsel was somewhat mild, it has been speculated that there is a disconnect between the information presented by BuzzFeed’s unnamed sources and Mueller’s office. Although BuzzFeed’s article has not yet been confirmed independently by outside journalists, it is believed that it was not simply fabricated. NY Magazine also speculates that the two sources used by BuzzFeed may be federal prosecutors from the district of New York where Cohen was sentenced. Being that the federal prosecutors are not under Mueller, this could very well explain the supposed disconnect of information.

The article and the validity of its sources are still under investigation, as is the President himself.