BuzzFeed's Donald Trump report not accurate: Mueller's office

Updated: Jan 20, 2019, 10:26 IST | Agencies

BuzzFeed editor-in-chef stays firm, says he stands by its report that the president had directed his former lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress

BuzzFeed's Donald Trump report not accurate: Mueller's office
BuzzFeed says its report is based on testimony from two unnamed law enforcement officials. Pics/AFP

Washington: Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office has disputed a BuzzFeed News story as "not accurate", after the outlet reported that President Donald Trump had directed his former personal attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress.

"BuzzFeed's description of specific statements to the Special Counsel's Office, and characterisation of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen's Congressional testimony are not accurate," Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller's office, said in a statement on Friday night.

It's highly unusual for the special counsel's office to provide a statement to the media, outside of court filings and judicial hearings, about any of its ongoing investigative activities.

In response, BuzzFeed said in a statement: "We are continuing to report and determine what the special counsel is disputing. We remain confident in the accuracy of our report."
Ben Smith, the editor-in-chief at BuzzFeed, echoed the outlet's statement, saying: "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 BuzzFeed story, by reporters Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier published on Thursday night, asserted that Cohen had told Mueller's investigators that "after the election, the President personally instructed him to lie — by claiming that negotiations (for a Trump development project in Moscow) ended months earlier than they actually did — in order to obscure Trump's involvement".

Trump addressed Muller's spokesman's statement, referencing how BuzzFeed had published a dossier in 2016 of uncorroborated intelligence compiled by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, CNN reported.

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