President Trump offered rare praise Saturday for the special counsel’s office, which issued a rare statement on Friday night knocking down a BuzzFeed story alleging that Trump instructed his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, to lie to Congress about Russia.
“I appreciate the special counsel coming out with a statement last night. I think it was very appropriate that they did so. I very much appreciate that,” Trump told reporters outside the White House.
“I think that the BuzzFeed piece was a disgrace to our country. It was a disgrace to journalism,” Trump said, referring to BuzzFeed’s report as a “totally phony story.”
“I think it’s going to take a long time for the mainstream media to recover its credibility,” added Trump, who has regularly in the past criticized Special Counsel Robert Mueller for leading what he calls a “witch hunt” in the Russia probe.
BuzzFeed reported Thursday night that Cohen has told the special counsel that Trump instructed him to lie to Congress in 2017 about his efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow during the 2016 campaign. The report, which relied on two anonymous law enforcement officials, also asserted that emails and witness testimony would corroborate Cohen’s testimony. Cohen pleaded guilty in the special counsel’s probe on Nov. 29 to lying to Congress about the issue. He will begin a three-year prison sentence in March.
BuzzFeed’s report was hailed by Democrats as the most significant development so far in the Russia probe, with many saying that Trump should be impeached for obstruction of justice and suborning perjury. Mainstream media outlets covered the story exhaustively on Friday, with TV anchors and pundits speculating about what’s next for Trump. CNN and MSNBC used the word “impeach” nearly 200 times in their broadcasts on Friday, The Daily Caller found.
But Mueller’s spokesman, Peter Carr, diffused the bombshell report on Friday night with a surprise on-the-record statement.
“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,” Mueller spokesman Peter Carr said in a statement to The Daily Caller News Foundation.
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