BuzzFeed News has posted an update to their story reporting that Donald Trump had directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress, officially conceding that the Special Counsel had in fact said this was false.
“UPDATE: The Mueller Report found that Trump did not direct Michael Cohen to lie,” a new statement affixed to the top of the piece by reporters Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier said. The statement also directed readers to a much lengthier explanation of events by BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith.
“The series of interactions between Trump, Cohen, and their lawyers did not, in the prosecutors’ view, amount to Trump ‘directing’ Cohen to lie,” Smith wrote. “As a matter of what constitutes a crime, Mueller has the last word, and his characterization has the force of law.”
“Our sources — federal law enforcement officials — interpreted the evidence Cohen presented as meaning that the president ‘directed’ Cohen to lie,” Smith continued. “We now know that Mueller did not.”
BuzzFeed’s report that Trump had directed his attorney to lie appeared like a smoking gun when the website published it in January. Liberal expectations quickly unraveled however after, Peter Carr, a spokesman for the Special Counsel, issued a rare public refutation of the story.
“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,” Carr said.
BuzzFeed promised an internal investigation but said repeatedly that they were standing by the story.
“I’m solid. My sources are solid,” Cormier told CNN’s Brian Stelter during an interview on his show “Reliable Sources.” “This is going to be borne out, Brian. This story is accurate.”
“What if the sources are just wrong,” Stelter pressed.
“They’re not. They’re not” Cormier reiterated. “I’m confident.”
Reps for BuzzFeed did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the matter. Smith’s note offered no apology or regrets over the reporting — something which caught the attention of Stelter and colleague Oliver Darcy in their evening newsletter. “Smith stopped short of expressing any regret for the story,” they noted.