Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Sunday, January 20, 2019

When a BuzzFeed reporter first sought comment on the news outlet's explosive report that President Trump had directed his lawyer to lie to Congress, the spokesman for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III treated the request as he would almost any other story. The reporter informed Mueller's spokesman, Peter Carr, that he and a colleague had "a story coming stating that Michael Cohen was directed by President Trump himself to lie to Congress about his negotiations related to the Trump Moscow project," according to copies of their emails provided by a BuzzFeed spokesman. Importantly, the reporter made no reference to the special counsel's office specifically or evidence that Mueller's investigators had uncovered. "We'll decline to comment," Carr responded, a familiar refrain for those in the media who cover Mueller's work.

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"The innocuous exchange belied the chaos it would produce.

When BuzzFeed published the story hours later, it far exceeded Carr's initial impression, people familiar with the matter said, in that the reporting alleged that Cohen, Trump's former lawyer and self-described fixer, "told the special counsel that after the election, the president personally instructed him to lie," and that Mueller's office learned of the directive "through interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents."

In the view of the special counsel's office, that was wrong, two people familiar with the matter said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

And with Democrats raising the specter of investigation and impeachment, Mueller's team started discussing a step they had never before taken: publicly disputing reporting on evidence in their ongoing investigation.

People familiar with the matter said Carr told others in the government that he would have more vigorously discouraged the reporters from proceeding with the story had he known it would allege Cohen had told the special counsel Trump directed him to lie -- or that the special counsel was said to have learned this through interviews with Trump Organization witnesses, as well as internal company emails and text messages.

After Carr declined to comment to BuzzFeed, but before the story was published, he sent reporter Jason Leopold a partial transcript of Cohen's plea hearing, in which Cohen admitted lying to Congress about the timing of discussions related to a possible Trump Tower project in Moscow, according to the emails BuzzFeed's spokesman provided.

Cohen had claimed falsely that the company's effort to build the tower ended in January 2016, when in fact discussions continued through June of that year, as Trump was clinching the Republican nomination for president.

"I made these misstatements to be consistent with Individual 1's political messaging and out of loyalty to Individual 1," Cohen said at his plea hearing late last year, using the term "Individual 1" to refer to Trump.

Carr, people familiar with the matter said, hoped Leopold would notice that Cohen had not said during the hearing that Trump had explicitly directed him to lie.

But Leopold, who co-authored the story with reporter Anthony Cormier, told the spokesman he was not taking any signals, and Carr acknowledged the point.

"I am not reading into what you sent and have interpreted it as an FYI," Leopold wrote.

"Correct, just an FYI," Carr responded.

People familiar with the matter said the special counsel's office meant the statement to be a denial of the central theses of the BuzzFeed story -- particularly those that referenced what Cohen had told the special counsel, and what evidence the special counsel had gathered."

much more at the link, the GIST OF WHICH is that Cohen was following Trump's "directives"... but there is no quote or recording of what Trump said....

"The language Cohen and his representatives used in court had been ambiguous. Cohen had pleaded guilty in two cases -- one for lying to Congress about the Moscow project, and another involving campaign finance violations for hush-money payments to women who had alleged affairs with Trump.

While neither Cohen nor his representatives had ever said explicitly that Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress, Guy Petrillo, Cohen's attorney, wrote in a memo in advance of his sentencing, "We address the campaign finance and false statements allegations together because both arose from Michael's fierce loyalty to Client-1.

In each case, the conduct was intended to benefit Client-1, in accordance with Client-1's directives."

#1 | Posted by Corky at 2019-01-19 09:45 PM | Reply

"Client-1 refers to Trump. Petrillo declined to comment Saturday. It is unclear precisely what "directives" Petrillo was referring to, though he did not allege elsewhere in the memo that Trump explicitly instructed Cohen to lie to Congress.

He wrote that Cohen was "in close and regular contact with White House-based staff and legal counsel to Client-1" as he prepared his testimony and "specifically knew . . . that Client-1 and his public spokespersons were seeking to portray contact with Russian representatives in any form by Client-1, the Campaign or the Trump Organization as having effectively terminated before the Iowa caucuses of February 1, 2016."

SO... Cohen testifies that he was acting as counsel under the close direction of the President when he lied to Congress... but since there is no direct quote of Trump telling him to lie, and because of the way BZ characterized "what evidence the special counsel had gathered".... that is why the Mueller Team issued their statement.

Which is a fine technical hair indeed; being directed to lie by the client is not, apparently, the same as the client saying, "lie for me".

#2 | Posted by Corky at 2019-01-19 09:51 PM | Reply

Which is a fine technical hair indeed; being directed to lie by the client is not, apparently, the same as the client saying, "lie for me."

My guess is the familiarity that Trump and Cohen had developed over the years didn't make it necessary for Trump to actually issue an order or direct Cohen to lie. Hiding the truth was what they had to do because both knew the repercussions should the truth ever come out as we're now seeing since it did come out. But Cohen was subordinate to Trump and both of them knew who was the boss and who was the employee doing the boss's wishes.

#3 | Posted by tonyroma at 2019-01-20 12:07 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

"President Donald Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani argued Sunday he did not know for sure if Trump spoke with Michael Cohen about his congressional testimony, but that it would not have been significant if Trump did.

"I don't know if it happened or didn't happen. It may be attorney-client privilege if it happened, where I can't acknowledge it. But I have no knowledge that he spoke to him, but I'm telling you I wasn't there then," Giuliani said on CNN's "State of the Union" with Jake Tapper.

He continued, "So what if he talked to him about it?"

www.cnn.com

#4 | Posted by Corky at 2019-01-20 01:04 PM | Reply

Schiff gives Cohen a date to testify before House Intelligence Committee

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday he has given Michael Cohen a date to testify before his panel, "either voluntarily, or if necessary, by subpoena." Cohen, President Trump's former personal attorney, has already agreed to testify publicly before the House Oversight Committee on Feb. 7, weeks before he begins serving a three-year prison sentence.

On Sunday, Schiff said that the statement from the special counsel's office about the BuzzFeed story may have to do with "wanting to be able to use Michael Cohen as a witness in further prosecutions, and wanting to make sure that the public didn't have a perception that he was saying more than he was saying at least to the special counsel."

"There is a lot more to learn," Schiff said. "Congress has a fundamental interest in two things: First, in getting to the bottom of why a witness came before us and lied, and who else was knowledgeable that this was a lie."

www.cbsnews.com

#5 | Posted by Corky at 2019-01-20 06:55 PM | Reply

Like I said in the other thread, you can parse it however you want to make your overreaction more palatable or justifiable, but the fact that the Special Counsel's Office took the extraordinary step to publicly make a statement that the Buzzfeed article was "not accurate" says it all.

#6 | Posted by Rightocenter at 2019-01-21 10:47 PM | Reply

- says it all.

That's hilarious. Better, and more knowledgeable, lawyers than you, and there are many, beg to differ.

We had a recording of Nixon suborning perjury, and that's what it would take for Mueller because He said, He said and some mails won't be enough, which is what his office's denial was all about.

You just weren't bright enough to grok that... not that you would care if that's what Trump did by giving Cohen "directives" or not.

#7 | Posted by Corky at 2019-01-21 11:36 PM | Reply

#7

Wow, a Nixon deflection...

Sad.

#8 | Posted by Rightocenter at 2019-01-21 11:46 PM | Reply

#8

Wow... no argument.

Typical.

#9 | Posted by Corky at 2019-01-21 11:49 PM | Reply

- a Nixon deflection...

The Watergate ‘Road Map' and the Coming Mueller Report

www.lawfareblog.com

You really don't get it at all. Again, typical.

#10 | Posted by Corky at 2019-01-22 12:00 AM | Reply

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