- President Donald Trump responded to BuzzFeed’s story alleging he asked his former lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about a potential Russian real estate deal this morning on Twitter, calling the article “disgraceful.”
- The story has not been confirmed by any additional media outlets, and special counsel Robert Mueller’s team made a rare public statement that denied the events portrayed in the piece actually happened.
- Since the special counsel’s office statement went live Friday night, Trump has tweeted, or retweeted others, a dozen times about BuzzFeed and the media in general.
President Donald Trump has finally found something he agrees with special counsel Robert Mueller on.
Roughly half a day after BuzzFeed dropped an explosive story alleging Trump asked his former lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress on his behalf, the special counsel released a rare public statement that stated “BuzzFeed’s descriptions of specific statements made to the Special Counsel’s office, and the characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate.”
Trump has used this statement to rail against the online news organisation, as well as “mainstream media” in general, on Twitter, retweeting criticisms of the story by his 2020 campaign manager Brad Pascale and GOP chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, among others, as well as bashing the story himself.
“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,” Trump tweeted a little before 9 AM this morning.
Since the statement from Mueller’s office was released, Trump has tweeted four times about BuzzFeed or the media in general, saying in a tweet last night that “Fake News is truly the ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!” He has also retweeted figures such as former NRA commentator Dan Bongino and GOP chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.
BuzzFeed has stood by the accuracy of its reporting, done by investigative reporters Anthony Cormier and Jason Leopold, with editor-in-chief Ben Smith tweeting Friday night “we stand by our reporting and the sources who informed it, and we urge the Special Counsel to make clear what he’s disputing.”
The story prompted several arguments both within the media and between political figures. The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., and CNN anchor Jake Tapper fought on Twitter after the Trump Jr. criticised CNN for covering BuzzFeed’s story.
After Trump Jr. tweeted that CNN “just can’t help” covering something he believes to be fake news, Tapper responded by saying “I don’t really care to be lectured about anything by you,” citing Trump Jr.’s “many lies” that he has told about a campaign meeting with Russian operatives in Trump Tower in 2016.
BuzzFeed also has come in the crosshairs of media critics after publishingMichael Steele’s 35-page dossier of unverified intelligence on Trump’s relationship with Russia, which includes “graphic claims of sexual acts.”