WH Spox: Report of Trump Directing Cohen to Lie to Congress Has No 'Corroboration or Credibility'
Gidley questions credibility of BuzzFeed, Cohen.
UPDATE: Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office on Friday issued an extraordinary statement disputing a bombshell news report that claimed President Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie about the timing of discussions over a proposed Trump Tower project in Moscow.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley sought to cast doubt on a bombshell report that President Trump directed his then-personal attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress.
The allegations were detailed in a BuzzFeed report published Thursday night. It cited two unnamed federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation on the matter who said Cohen acknowledged to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office that he was instructed by Trump to lie to Congress in 2017 about discussions of a proposed Trump Tower project in Moscow.
The report, which has not been confirmed by Fox News, said Mueller’s office first learned of the directive from interviews with witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company email, text messages and documents. It also said that Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. were briefed with regular details about the real estate deal from Cohen.
On "America's Newsroom" Friday, Gidley questioned BuzzFeed's credibility, noting that was the outlet that released the unverified Trump-Russia dossier.
He also pointed out that one of the authors of the new report, Anthony Cormier, admitted on CNN Friday that he had not "personally" seen the evidence underlying the report.
"This is, quite frankly, the problem with the press and the reason why the president continues to call them 'fake news' repeatedly," Gidley said. "There is nothing in that piece that can be corroborated."
In an MSNBC interview Friday, co-author of the report Jason Leopold said he had seen the documents in question and is "very confident in our reporting."
“We have seen documents. We have been briefed on documents. We are very confident in our reporting," BuzzFeed News reporter Jason Leopold, who co-wrote bombshell new report, says. pic.twitter.com/5RXOx8rvo0
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) January 18, 2019
Co-host Bill Hemmer asked him if he denies that Trump ordered Cohen to lie to Congress.
“I’m telling you right now, this is why the president refuses to give any credence or credibility to news outlets because they have no ability to corroborate anything they’re putting out there. Instead, they're just using innuendo and shady sources," Gidley responded.
Hemmer pressed: “That was not a denial of my question."
“No, but the premise is ridiculous,” Hogan replied, calling Cohen a "proven liar" and self-admitted felon.
"I'm not going to give any credence or credibility to Michael Cohen."
Earlier Friday morning, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R) called the report an "absurdity," accusing the media of "maximizing" any negative report about Trump.
Gingrich said it's "crazy" to think Trump would have expressly told Cohen to lie to Congress.