President Donald Trump on Saturday went after the “fake news media” for running with a “phony story” last month alleging that he had prior knowledge of his son’s meeting with a group of Russians at Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign.
Trump cited comments made this week by Lanny Davis, the Clinton-connected lawyer representing Michael Cohen, the former Trump fixer who pleaded guilty on Tuesday to tax evasion, bank fraud and making excessive campaign contributions.
“Michaels Cohen’s attorney clarified the record, saying his client does not know if President Trump knew about the Trump Tower meeting (out of which came nothing!),” Trump tweeted.
“The answer is that I did NOT know about the meeting. Just another phony story by the Fake News Media!”
Michaels Cohen’s attorney clarified the record, saying his client does not know if President Trump knew about the Trump Tower meeting (out of which came nothing!). The answer is that I did NOT know about the meeting. Just another phony story by the Fake News Media!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 25, 2018
In an interview on Wednesday, Davis disputed a July 27 report from CNN that Cohen was prepared to tell Special Counsel Robert Mueller that Trump knew about the June 9, 2016, Trump Tower meeting before it occurred.
According to CNN reporters Jim Sciutto, Carl Bernstein and Marshall Cohen, Michael Cohen was present at a meeting with Trump and his son, Donald Trump Jr., where the Trump Tower conclave was discussed. CNN’s source said that Trump approved the meeting.
According to CNN’s anonymous sources, Cohen claimed that Trump approved his son taking part in the meeting, which was held on June 9, 2016.
CNN touted the story for days on its airwaves. Democrats and Trump critics seized on the story, noting that Trump and his son have publicly stated that Trump did not know about the meeting until it was reported in the press in July 2017.
But in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Davis said that the initial story got “mixed up” and was inaccurate.
“So Michael Cohen does not have information that President Trump knew about the Trump Tower meeting with the Russians beforehand or even after?” Cooper asked Davis.
“No, he does not,” replied Davis.
“Well, I think the reporting of the story got mixed up in the course of a criminal investigation. We were not the source of the story. And the question of a criminal investigation, the advice we were given, those of us dealing with the media is that we could not do anything other than stay silent,” he added.
CNN has yet to correct its July 27 story and has not addressed its blunder on air.
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