The Latest: BuzzFeed stands by reporting on disputed story

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on a disputed report that President Donald Trump directed his personal attorney to lie to Congress (all times local):

10:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump says it’s “a very sad day for journalism, but a great day for our Country!” after the special counsel’s office disputed the accuracy of a BuzzFeed News story about the president.

A spokesman for special counsel Robert Mueller’s office issued an extraordinary and unprecedented statement on Friday night characterizing as “not accurate” a BuzzFeed story that said Trump had directed his former attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about a Trump real estate project in Moscow. The statement didn’t cite any specific errors.

BuzzFeed says it stands by its reporting but is “working to determine what exactly” Mueller’s office is disputing.

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Some senior Democrats had said that if the BuzzFeed report was confirmed, Trump’s actions could rise to the level of impeachment.

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8:30 p.m.

BuzzFeed says it stands by its reporting but is “working to determine what exactly” special counsel Robert Mueller’s office is disputing about its story on President Donald Trump and his former lawyer Michael Cohen.

Mueller spokesman Peter Carr issued an extraordinary and unprecedented statement on Friday night characterizing as “not accurate” a BuzzFeed News story that said Trump had directed Cohen to lie to Congress about a Trump real estate project in Moscow.

The story was attributed to two unidentified law enforcement officials.

In a statement Friday night, BuzzFeed spokesman Matt Mittenthal says the news organization is trying to figure out what Mueller’s team is taking issue with.

In a separate statement, BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith says it stands by the reporting and the “sources who informed it.” He called on Mueller “to make clear what he’s disputing.”

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7:50 p.m.

The special counsel’s office has issued a rare public statement disputing the accuracy of a news report saying that President Donald Trump told his personal attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress.

The statement by Robert Mueller’s office on Friday night doesn’t cite any specific errors.

Spokesman Peter Carr says, “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.”

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12:50 p.m.

Donald Trump’s personal attorney is denying that the president told his former legal fixer, Michael Cohen, to lie to Congress about the details of a Trump business proposal in Russia.

Rudy Giuliani says in a statement that “Any suggestion— from any source— that the President counseled Michael Cohen to lie is categorically false.” Giuliani is responding to a Buzzfeed News report saying that Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress.

The report was based on information from two law enforcement officials with direct knowledge of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. The officials are not named in the story.

The report says Cohen said Trump directed him to lie and investigators have additional documents and testimony backing that up.

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10:45 a.m.

President Donald Trump is accusing his former personal attorney of “lying to reduce his jail time!” after BuzzFeed News published a report saying Trump had asked his ex-fixer, Michael Cohen, to lie to Congress in 2017.

BuzzFeed said Trump directed Cohen to lie about negotiations over a real estate project in Moscow during the 2016 election.

Trump tweeted that Cohen is “Lying to reduce his jail time!” even though he’s already been sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to tax crimes, bank fraud and campaign violations.

On Fox News Channel, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said that the BuzzFeed story was “absolutely ludicrous,” but he repeatedly refused to deny the central allegation: that Trump directed Cohen to lie.

One of Gidley’s interviewers noted at one point: “That was not a denial of my question.”

The Democratic chairmen of two House committees pledged Friday to investigate the report, which cites two unnamed law enforcement officials.

The Associated Press has not independently confirmed the report.

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8:23 a.m.

The House intelligence committee chairman said he will “do what is necessary” to confirm a published report that President Donald Trump directed his personal attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations over a real estate project in Moscow during the 2016 election.

Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff of California says the allegation that Trump asked Cohen to lie “to curtail the investigation and cover up his business dealings with Russia is among the most serious to date.”

The report by BuzzFeed News, citing two unnamed law enforcement officials, says that Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress and that Cohen regularly briefed Trump on the Moscow project. The Associated Press has not independently confirmed the report.

An adviser to Cohen, Lanny Davis, declined to comment.

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

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