Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s office on Friday denied an explosive report by BuzzFeed News that his investigators had gathered evidence showing President Trump directed his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, to lie to Congress about a prospective business deal in Moscow.
“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,” said Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller.
A lot of rumbling on Twitter about what this actually means.
To be clear: Mueller is not disputing that Cohen says Trump told him to lie. He’s disputing the line about corroborating evidence taken from Trump Org emails, texts, etc. Still a huge deal. But not a total refutation. In fact, Cohen’s 11/30 memo says Trump directed him to lie.
— Ken Dilanian (@KenDilanianNBC) January 19, 2019
In other words: the Mueller team’s wording leaves open the possibility that some of the story might be accurate. But the fact that they called substantial elements of the story inaccurate should be taken seriously.
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) January 19, 2019
Looks like it’s going to be a slow news day:
President Donald Trump directed his longtime attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, according to two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter.
Trump also supported a plan, set up by Cohen, to visit Russia during the presidential campaign, in order to personally meet President Vladimir Putin and jump-start the tower negotiations. “Make it happen,” the sources said Trump told Cohen.
And the money shot:
The special counsel’s office learned about Trump’s directive for Cohen to lie to Congress through interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents. Cohen then acknowledged those instructions during his interviews with that office.