President Donald Trump, his legal representation, and a news channel that regularly gives him positive coverage are making false and misleading statements about a recent news story that casts the commander-in-chief in a bad light.
BuzzFeed News reported on Thursday evening that Trump directed his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, to lie under oath during testimonies to the Senate and House Judiciary Committees. As previous reporting from the Inquisitr noted, telling a person to lie is a criminal offense called suborning perjury. This crime carries a sentence of up to five years in prison if one is found guilty of it.
Immediately after the report was published, Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani sought to discredit it as false, placing blame on Cohen himself and suggesting BuzzFeed News’ reporting relied solely on information supplied by the former “fixer” lawyer for the president.
“If you believe Cohen I can get you a great deal on the Brooklyn Bridge,” Giuliani said.
That seems to be the new official line being touted by Trump’s handlers, and even by Trump himself. The president tweeted a quote from Fox News’ White House correspondent Kevin Corke, who himself pointed out, “Michael Cohen has already been convicted of perjury and fraud.”
Trump added his own two cents at the end of his Twitter post on the matter. “Lying to reduce his jail time!” he accused his former lawyer Cohen of doing.
BREAKING: President Trump personally directed his longtime attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow in order to obscure his involvement. https://t.co/BEoMKiDypn— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) January 18, 2019
There’s just one problem with that assertion being pushed by Trump, his current lawyer, and Fox News media personalities: the BuzzFeed News report didn’t quote Cohen.
The report specifically stated that most of its findings were based on sources that had spoken to them. These sources were not Cohen or any other former member of Trump’s inner circle, but “federal law enforcement officials” who spoke to the news outlet about these allegations. They cited Cohen’s discussions with them, to be sure, but also documents they had obtained from the Trump Organization, including emails and other documents.
BuzzFeed News’ deputy editor of breaking news, David Mack, corrected the president in a tweet of his own, explaining that Fox News’ reporting on the matter was errant.
“If you’re a news outlet reporting on this tweet, you have an obligation to note that Michael Cohen is not the source of the BuzzFeed story,” Mack wrote on Twitter.
It seems that the immediate defense strategy for Trump and those closest to him is to misinform the public in hopes that it will make its way to lawmakers in Congress as well. Unfortunately for the president, misinformation can only go so far, only winning him favor among his base of support, and won’t win the day if or when Congress decides to take action against him.