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CNN Adds Major Update To Michael Cohen Story


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CNN has bungled another story that was based on leaks the network received while a House Intelligence Committee witness was testifying behind closed doors.

On Wednesday, CNN reported that Michael Cohen provided documents during a House Intelligence deposition showing that President Trump’s Russia lawyers made edits to false testimony that the former Trump fixer gave to Congress in 2017.

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In a public House Oversight Committee hearing last week, Cohen said that one of Trump’s lawyers, Jay Sekulow, made changes to the testimony.

“There were changes made, additions — Jay Sekulow, for one,” Cohen said. “There were several changes that were made including how we were going to handle that message, which was — the message of course being — the length of time that the Trump Tower Moscow project stayed and remained alive.”

Cohen pleaded guilty in the special counsel’s investigation on Nov. 29 to making several false statements in his House and Senate Intelligence testimony, including that he ended negotiations to build a Trump Tower Moscow in January 2016. Instead, Cohen continued working on the project through June 2016.

CNN’s initial report raised the possibility that Trump’s lawyers suborned perjury from Cohen, who will begin a three-year prison term on May 6.

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But at 7:35 p.m., CNN ran an update that drastically changed the implications for its story.

Lanny Davis, an attorney for Cohen, told CNN that Cohen himself, and not a Trump lawyer, claimed in a draft of his 2017 testimony that the Trump Tower negotiations ended in January 2016.

Cohen’s lawyer at the time of his initial testimony, Stephen Ryan, helped him edit the document, according to CNN’s update. Ryan shared the draft with other lawyers who were party to a joint defense agreement with Cohen. Those lawyers provided suggested changes, which Cohen and Ryan approved, CNN’s sources said.

According to the updated report, the lawyers involved in editing Cohen’s testimony had no indication that the initial draft had inaccurate information.

This is not the first time that CNN has published a story in the midst of closed-door House Intelligence testimony that turned out to be wrong.

On Dec. 8, 2017, the same two reporters who worked on the Cohen story reported that Donald Trump Jr. received an email on Sept. 4, 2016, containing a link to a batch of WikiLeaks documents. The story was considered a bombshell because the WikiLeaks emails had not been made public when Trump Jr. purportedly received the email.

But hours later, Trump Jr.’s lawyer released the actual email, which showed that Trump Jr. received the document on Sept. 14, 2016, a day after WikiLeaks published the documents linked in the email.

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