CNN Reporters Defend Trump-Russia Piece in Wake of Blowback: ‘CNN Stands by Its Story’

Report from Jim Sciutto and Carl Bernstein suggests one confirming source is Trump attorney Michael Cohen

Lanny Davis

CNN reporters Jim Sciutto and Carl Bernstein offered additional context on Tuesday after Michael Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, publicly cast doubt on information he provided to them for a widely-circulated story on a 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Trump campaign representatives and a Russian lawyer.

The July 27th CNN story reported that Cohen said he personally witnessed Donald Trump being told about the 2016 meeting between that took place during the height of the presidential campaign in 2016.

If true, the story would contradict President Trump’s assertion that he only learned about the meeting after he was elected.

The bombshell piece came in for scrutiny on Sunday after one of its primary sources, Cohen attorney Lanny Davis, publicly cast doubt on the information he provided to CNN.

Sciutto and Bernstein, however, reiterated that they stand by their reporting, adding that Davis had not been the only confirming source with knowledge of Cohen’s claims about the president’s knowledge of the meeting. The two also strongly hinted at the identity of one of their other confirming sources.

“CNN stands by its story,” they wrote. “[Michael] Cohen, unlike Davis, has not publicly addressed what he might have said to friends, associates or reporters about these matters.”

CNN declined to comment on whether Cohen was, indeed, a source for the article.

The network got blowback after Davis backed away from the story, telling The Washington Post on Sunday that he could not confirm the piece.

“Lanny Davis, a spokesman and attorney for Cohen, said in an interview this weekend that he is no longer certain about claims he made to reporters on background and on the record in recent weeks about what Cohen knows about Trump’s awareness of the Russian efforts,” wrote Post reporters Tom Hamburger and Rosalind S. Helderman.

CNN also previously stood by its reporting, citing the veracity of the other sources involved in the report, but the criticism continued to be fierce.

A tweet from The Hill media reporter Joe Concha, saying the channel had no alternative but to retract, has received more than 5,000 retweets.

“Very difficult to see how CNN can continue to stand by its July 27 Michael Cohen/Trump Tower story given its own formerly-anonymous source is now openly admitting to lying about it on the network,” he said. “Retraction seems to be the only recourse here.”

The story received renewed attention last week after Davis appeared on CNN with Anderson Cooper and bluntly misrepresented his involvement with the story.

“I think the reporting of the story got mixed up in the course of a criminal investigation,” he told Cooper on live television. “We were not the source of the story.”

On Monday evening, he confessed to BuzzFeed that he was, in fact, a source for the CNN report and apologized for saying otherwise to Cooper. “I made a mistake,” he told the website, adding, “I did not mean to be cute.”