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Buzzfeed’s “if true” bombshell report that Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress

Buzzfeed’s “if true” bombshell report that Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress

Report based on unnamed law enforcement sources being used to justify impeachment investigation in the House.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJWhIW_b0A8

We have been here sooooooo many times before.

A media outlet publishes an article based on anonymous sources providing information that is so vague it cannot be proven or disproven, but which purports to (1) implicate Trump in a crime, (2) show collusion with the Russians, and/or (3) raise enough suspicions to justify a 3-5 day news cycle.

So many of these reports are dropped before a weekend, guaranteeing they will dominate the news cycle for days.

And in each and every instance the report is blown out of the water or substantially rewritten, other news outlets could not verify, or other news outlets themselves call the report into doubt. Even when there is a kernel of fact underlying the report, the spin is usually the key to why people click on it. This is all fed by the news media “Scoop” culture.

The typical reaction from people who are not part of #TheResistance, whether Trump supporters or not, is the preface “if true.”

I’ve seen a number of people say they follow a 24-hour rule on these bombshell reports. I think that’s too kind. It’s better to wait 48-72 hours, at a minimum, since so many of these bombshells take days, not hours, to reveal themselves to be duds.

And so we get to last night’s bombshell, from Buzzfeed:

President Donald Trump directed his longtime attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, according to two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter.

The short version is that two unnamed federal law enforcement sources told Buzzfeed reporter Jason Leopold, the leading reporter on the story, that Mueller has evidence both through testimony and documentation that Trump told Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about a potential Trump Tower Moscow hotel deal timeline.

The Buzzfeed reporters have not seen the evidence underlying their report:

Anthony Cormier is one of the two investigative reporter at BuzzfeedNews who co-authored the bombshell report published Thursday night — a report which claimed President Donald Trump directed his former lawyer Michael Cohen to lie during Congressional testimony over discussions between the Trump Organization and Russian authorities about a Trump Tower Moscow project.

Cormier appeared on CNN’s New Day and revealed that he had not seen the evidence underlying his report.

Host Alisyn Camerota opened the interview by asking Cormier if he had seen the evidence to which Cormier replied: “Not personally.” He then clarified that “the folks we have talked to — two officials we have spoken to are 100 percent read into that aspect of the Special Counsel’s investigation”

“If true,” it’s very damaging. Depending on the specific facts, it could be criminal.

If true” is a lot of the reaction we’re seeing, even from WaPo. Expect other news outlets to try to verify the story or parts of it based on their own anonymous sources.

Do we know that to be true? Not based on the article. There are no names given as to who the witnesses are. That’s not unusual in such reporting, but the reporter involved Jason Leopold has a messy history with sources. Do those sources, assuming they exist and said what Buzzfeed reported, have first hand knowledge or like the recent McClatchy mess about Cohen’s cell phone pinging a tower near Prague, are the sources themselves just conveying hearsay?

Documentation is not provided, but we’re told such documentation is in the possession of Muller. There’s a kernel of fact there that prosecutors have access to a wide range of Cohen’s office and business files. So it’s possible there is incriminating documentation, but we can’t say that for sure or even with confidence.

Did Trump instruct Cohen to lie? No words are put in Trump’s mouth in the article to such effect. Cohen lying at the instruction of Trump may be a conclusion, not a fact. We just don’t know.

The Buzzfeed story, like the Steele Dossier, serves a purpose.

Just like the Dossier was used as justification for a FISA warrant on Carter Page and two years of Russia collusion conspiracy theories, the Buzzfeed story is being used by Democrats in the House to demand a House investigation be launched to see if there is evidence to support impeachment of Trump.

How convenient that this story drops just after Democrats regain control of the House and its committees, and just three weeks before Cohen is scheduled to testify in the House.

What better way to justify pre-impeachment proceedings that otherwise would be unpopular than to be able to point to the smoke of the Buzzfeed story. That doesn’t mean that Buzzfeed sat on the story, but it might mean that Buzzfeed’s “federal law enforcement” sources did, just like so much has dripped out for two years at key political moments.

My position has remained the same since the start of anti-Trump Russiamania: At such point as someone releases actual evidence of collusion or criminality by Trump, we can judge. That hasn’t happened yet despite two years of leaks and investigations and media probing. Will it happen with the Buzzfeed story? Give it 48-72 hours, at a minimum.

UPDATES:

This appears to be Trump’s first response:

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1086277705916502017

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Comments

“Buzzfeed” and “true” are not words normally found in the same sentence.

So how do we impeach congress or do we have to depend upon congress to do that?

Yaaaaaaaawn….wake me up when something of interest happens…like the Dems get to take another free bus ride.

I’m not a lawyer so tell me where in the Constitution or anywhere else that collusion is against the law?

    Milhouse in reply to Ronbert. | January 18, 2019 at 10:54 am

    It isn’t. But knowingly lying to Congress on a material matter is a crime, and so is directing someone to do so, so if this story were true then it would be very bad for Trump. Just as if it were true that Pelosi has three bodies buried in her basement that would be very bad for her.

      alaskabob in reply to Milhouse. | January 18, 2019 at 11:28 am

      At least with Obama he didn’t have to ask Rice, Hillary, et al to lie for him… they already would on their own.

      “Lying to Congress”… so they finally are going to enforce that law?

The typical reaction from people who are not part of #TheResistance, whether Trump supporters or not, is the preface “if true.”

This is actually a yuuuge improvement. They’ve basically conceded that DJT is not guilty until proven otherwise. Until recently, the fundamental concept was, obviously he’s guilty, we just have to look around a little bit longer to find the evidence. They haven’t given up hope, but they’re starting to accept that framing the President in the Court of Public Opinion will be a steeper uphill struggle than they’d initially realized.

When the FBI, the CIA and the DOJ all lie to Congress, how can you tell if Cohen is lying too?

the Buzzfeed story is being used by Democrats in the House to demand a House investigation be launched to see if there is evidence to support impeachment of Trump.

Well, if Mueller already has the goods, there’s no need for Congress to get its fingers in there. The fact that they’re trying to milk the story for political rather than law-enforcement value implies that they realize there’s nothing there.

    Virginia42 in reply to tom_swift. | January 18, 2019 at 12:50 pm

    We have a bingo!

    “the Buzzfeed story is being used by Democrats ..to demand a House investigation be launched to see if there is evidence to support impeachment of Trump.”

    Same trick they used with the Pee Pee Dossier. Yawn. They aren’t very imaginative, but I suppose most crooks aren’t.

    All they have going for them now is the msm and social media echo chamber, churning out increasingly annoying hysteria by legions of self-entitled “elites” (upper-class wannabes) who keep telling us how smart and cool they are because they can see the Emperor’s clothes that the globalist sponsored TV hosts and comedians insist that the cool and smart people can see.

If I tell Cohen to rob a 7-11, and he does, I am a criminal? Cohen has no free will to say “No?”

So what if Trump told to do anything? Those are just words that can be ignored.

    randian in reply to TX-rifraph. | January 18, 2019 at 10:46 am

    Yes you are a criminal, just as if you had ordered a murder. Not that I believe any of this, it’s pure fantasy or projection designed to manufacture probable cause for continuing the harassment of Trump.

    Milhouse in reply to TX-rifraph. | January 18, 2019 at 11:22 am

    Your argument works under Jewish law, but not under US law. In your scenario, the moment the other person took an overt act in preparation for the robbery you would both be guilty of conspiracy, even before he actually committed the robbery itself, and even if he never ended up doing so.

      mailman in reply to Milhouse. | January 18, 2019 at 11:29 am

      Kinda like the daily incitement spewed by the Democrat media (I repeat myself) and their brain dead followers duly follow orders to attack Republicans where ever they can find them.

        Milhouse in reply to mailman. | January 18, 2019 at 11:33 am

        No, that is not conspiracy. There is no agreement to commit a crime. The people who commit the crimes don’t even know the people who filled their heads with lies. And it does not fit the definition of incitement either.

    dmi60ex in reply to TX-rifraph. | January 18, 2019 at 1:21 pm

    I’m so old I can remember when Democrats insisted it was no big deal when a certain President instructed Monica to lie in the deposition

Buzzfeed is about as accurate as their name implies. They have a history of publishing untrue stories and as with the little boy who cries “Wolf”, no one believes them.

    sonofsvengali in reply to inspectorudy. | January 18, 2019 at 6:26 pm

    But in the end there was a wolf. This story isn’t about Buzz Feed.

      The “story” is about the lies of the media. File this one in the dumpster with all the other falsehoods told by the commie liars of buzzard bait.

        sonofsvengali in reply to Barry. | January 18, 2019 at 8:49 pm

        Please remind me. How many years did Cohen work for Trump. What exactly did he do? How is it that Trump never noticed Cohen’s character?

          Please remind me –
          How many years have you been a lying commie?

          After 1000’s of bullshit fake news stories, are you 1) just stupid, 2) a willing participant in the fake news and lies?

          I’m going with both as equal.

smalltownoklahoman | January 18, 2019 at 10:43 am

Yes, lets wait a bit on this one and see if they actually offer something solid to back this up and not just these anonymous sources who may or may not have an axe to grind with the President.

Like the dems need actual evidence to start their bogus proceedings. They’ve never let something like that stop them before.

Sure, he did.

And he hired a Russian prostitute to pee on him in bed.

Lessee, didn’t Buzzed “report” that too?

Check the byline for this story:

Jason Leopold BuzzFeed News Reporter and Anthony Cormier BuzzFeed News Reporter

Posted on January 17, 2019, at 10:11 p.m. ET

Jason Leopold Caught Source-less Again

“Leopold, you may recall, is the freelance reporter who was caught making stuff up in a 2002 Salon.com article, self-admittedly “getting it completely wrong” in pieces for Dow Jones, and had his own memoir cancelled because of concerns over the accuracy of quotations.”

https://archives.cjr.org/politics/jason_leopold_caught_sourceles.php

This is why Sullivan v. NY Times is outdated. Either Congress or SCOTUS needs to update defamation laws so media hacks can’t continue this garbage.

It’s also uncanny how many times these reports come out right when but news is about to be dropped about them (media/dems). I have a feeling this time it may be RBG’s health. Have you guys read the Santa Monica observer reports? They nailed her long cancer story earlier than any other source.

    alaskabob in reply to hrunting. | January 18, 2019 at 11:36 am

    That after a successful surgery and completely free of cancer she is taking a sudden and unexpected downhill course? Even if at home “recuperating” some social presence would alleviate concern for her followers. Any surgery at her age would take the starch out of anybody and it takes months to come back fully. That “mums the word” speaks more.

I thought Cohen was the lawyer and gave legal advice.

Don’t these claims contradict the charging document? If Mulehead had documentation wouldn’t he have already dropped this “bomb” into the charging document. Because “if true” he would have dropped this daisy cutter as an October surprise before the Congressional elections. Cohen may be ready to testify to this newly composed “fact” because he’s a liar trying to salvage his shredded image, but odds are it’s as fictitious as the dossier.

Buzz feed and “If True” are redundant.

Seems like everytime something happens that even “never Trump” folks might find appalling, another anti-Ttump story drops!

Case in point; We’ve just learned from Bruce Ohrs Congressional testimony that he’d informed the FBI in June ’16 that the Steele dossier needed to be taken with a grain of salt because of the funding source and because Steele himself was obsessed with ensure Trump lost. Ohr was clear the dossier wasn’t vetted.

Yet the FBI used it to gain a FISA warrant on Page. Moreover per Comey and McCabes Congressional testimony they were unaware of the dossier funding or Steeles known bias. We’re they lying to Congress? If true, doesn’t Ohrs testimony raise credibility issues about the FISA warrant?

We never see the media clear the deck on stories like that because a new anti-Trump story drops. Just like when the CIA testified before Congress in March ’17 that they’d been aware of Russia’s use of social media to spread dissent as early as ’09 and that they’d informed the WH in ’09, ’10, ’11, ’12, ’13, ’14 and ’16 yet were told to do nothing! That never got legs because. . . . .oh, TRUMP! How about just the simple fact that the mainstream media has yet to point out that the “Russian Troll Farm” under indictment by SC Mueller had been profiled in April 2015 by the UK Guardian (including photos and names)!

I don’t believe in conspiracies but it seems out media has a “way the dog” issue.

Interesting story. IANAL but I can see a couple avenues to explan away anything in this area. The best avenue for Trump is to say he was just trying to find out what the penalties for lying to congress are to see if it was something worth having the DOJ pursue for some of the outgoing Obama officials. Unless they have a smoking gun (audio/video) that has Trump telling Cohen to lie to congress it would be almost impossible to convict Trump in a court of law. I do realize that an impeachment is not a court of law so I will not make any bets on how that would turn out.

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF BUZZFEED REPORTERS….

Cormier: We’ve been here all day and no anti Trump stuff yet..

Leopold: Yeah…Crap….something’s just gotta turn up…!!!

Cormier: We need a bombshell kind of scoop, dang it..!!!

Leopold: (holds hand up to ear like a phone…WHAT’S THAT??
Donald Trump Kicked Grandma in the knee??? OMG!!!

Cormier: Yes..!!! We’ve got’em now…PRAISE BE..!!!!!

Leopold: AND…..My source has..PROOF….100%…!!!!!

How can Cohen’s claim (if, in fact, he is claiming this) that Trump directed him to lie to Congress, be taken at face value? Cohen is under pressure to cooperate with the anti-Trump Feds, and, thus, he has a direct incentive to fabricate allegations to tell the “investigators” who want to rake draw and quarter Trump, exactly what they want to hear.

It would be his (exceptionally suspect) word against Trump’s, with Cohen’s motives for fabrication obvious and transparently self-serving.

Just released that the ‘comments were mis-characterized’

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