BuzzFeed News said Friday night that it is standing by its reporting concerning Donald Trump ordering Michael Cohen to lie to Congress. Their comments were made on Twitter after an unusual statement was issued by special counsel Robert Mueller’s office disputing BuzzFeed’s report from Thursday night which set forth the allegations involving the president and Cohen, his former lawyer.
“We stand by our reporting and the sources who informed it, and we urge the Special Counsel to make clear what he’s disputing,” BuzzFeed News said in a statement shared by BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith on Twitter.
In response to the statement tonight from the Special Counsel's spokesman: We stand by our reporting and the sources who informed it, and we urge the Special Counsel to make clear what he's disputing.
— Ben Smith (@BuzzFeedBen) January 19, 2019
BuzzFeed reported Thursday, citing two federal law enforcement officials as unnamed sources, that Cohen had told the special counsel that Trump had instructed him to lie about the timing of negotiations over a potential Trump Tower in Moscow.
Mueller’s office rarely comments on stories related to the special counsel’s investigation into potential collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia during the 2016 election, but issued a statement Friday night denying certain aspects of BuzzFeed’s reporting.
“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,” special counsel spokesman Peter Carr said in a statement.
Shortly after Mueller’s office released the statement, Smith called into CNN and reiterated that BuzzFeed stood by the report.
“Obviously, we stand by the reporting in this story,” he said on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.” “We spoke to federal law enforcement officials involved in the investigation … who told us the president directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress.”
Buzzfeed's Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith tells @andersoncooper he stands by his organization's bombshell report, and remains "really confident in these specific sources and in the stories these reporters told." https://t.co/OqWfJcIQIt pic.twitter.com/FZYeUZZ1Qm
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) January 19, 2019
Cooper asked Smith if he knew the sources from the story, and he said, “Yes, of course I know.”
“We’ve been reporting on the Trump Tower Moscow, which is at the heart of the Russia investigation, for months,” Smith explained. “We really urge the special counsel to make it clear what he’s disputing.”
He added that it would be “the responsible thing” for the counsel to clarify.
After BuzzFeed published its article two Democratic committee chairmen in the House, Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler, said that they would be opening investigations into the allegations of the president’s criminal behavior.