While MSM journalists spent much of Thursday suggesting that the Mueller report somehow vindicated two years of irresponsible reporting insisting that President Trump colluded with Russia, BuzzFeed quietly corrected an article that was so wrong the Special Counsel’s office issued a rare statement rebuking the report.
On January 17, BuzzFeed‘s Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier dropped an anonymously sourced “bombshell” boldly proclaiming “President Trump Directed His Attorney Michael Cohen To Lie To Congress About The Moscow Tower Project” (spearheaded by Cohen and longtime FBI informant and convicted fraudster Felix Sater — who gave the same BuzzFeed reporters a comprehensive interview last march).
The article claims that Trump instructed Cohen to tell Congress that discussions over the Moscow project ended in January, 2016 when they in fact ended months later.
In an unprecedented move, Mueller’s office immediately disputed the BuzzFeed report right after it published, writing: “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“
BuzzFeed stood by their reporting, saying it “stands by this story 100%.” Leopold and Cormier confidently appeared on CNN that weekend where Cormier insisted “Our reporting is going to be borne out to be accurate.”
"Our reporting is going to be borne out to be accurate." https://t.co/wPfSj0FXJv
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) April 19, 2019
Except, it wasn’t
Following the Thursday release of the redacted Mueller report which found that Trump did not direct Cohen to lie, BuzzFeed quietly corrected their story.
After 4 months, BuzzFeed has (essentially) retracted the infamous Michael Cohen story which had the entire media melting down in a raging frenzy for 48 hours. Good start I guess, but what now? Everyone just sits back and accepts that a falsehood was allowed to stand for 4 months? pic.twitter.com/5tPcyLQrLp
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) April 19, 2019
In a Thursday statement, BuzzFeed’s Editor-In-Chief, Ben Smith, explains how “two senior law enforcement sources”
provided leaked documents “specifically, pages of notes that were taken during an interview of Cohen by the FBI.”
Our story was based on detailed information from senior law enforcement sources. That reporting included documents — specifically, pages of notes that were taken during an interview of Cohen by the FBI. In those notes, one law enforcement source wrote that “DJT personally asked Cohen to say negotiations ended in January and White House counsel office knew Cohen would give false testimony to Congress. Sanctioned by DJT. Joint lawyer team reviewed letter Cohen sent to SSCI about his testimony about Trump Tower moscow, et al, knowing it contained lies.”
The law enforcement source also wrote: “Cohen told OSC” — the Office of Special Counsel — “he was asked to lie by DJT/DJT Jr., lawyers.”
At the time, the sources asked reporters to keep the information confidential, but with the publication of Mueller’s report they have permitted its release. –BuzzFeed
In short – Cohen told the FBI that Trump directed him to lie, which leaked to BuzzFeed, which presented it as fact, and was immediately rebuked by Mueller.
Remember it was Buzzfeed that released the totally discredited “Dossier,” paid for by Crooked Hillary Clinton and the Democrats (as opposition research), on which the entire Russian probe is based! A very sad day for journalism, but a great day for our Country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 19, 2019
The reporting lies in ruins. https://t.co/yiudOIgVYl
— Brit Hume (@brithume) April 19, 2019
BuzzFeed isn’t the first outlet to correct an article following the release of the Mueller report. McClatchy issued an editor’s note on anonymously sourced news reports published on April 13 and December 27 of last year claiming that Cohen visited Prague during 2016.
Mueller’s 448-page report debunks this, stating “Cohen had never traveled to Prague and was not concerned about those allegations, which he believed were provably false.”
In response, McClatchy wrote: “EDITOR’S NOTE: Robert Mueller’s report to the attorney general states that Mr. Cohen was not in Prague. It is silent on whether the investigation received evidence that Mr. Cohen’s phone pinged in or near Prague, as McClatchy reported.”