Conservatives pound BuzzFeed, media over Cohen report

Conservatives and allies of the president hammered BuzzFeed News and other media outlets after the special counsel's office issued a rare statement disputing an explosive report that President TrumpDonald John TrumpSanders urges impeachment trial 'quickly' in the Senate US sending 20,000 troops to Europe for largest exercises since Cold War Barr criticizes FBI, says it's possible agents acted in 'bad faith' in Trump probe MORE had told his former attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress.

BuzzFeed reported Thursday evening that Trump Organization documents obtained by law enforcement contained proof that Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress over the scope of plans to build a Trump tower in Moscow.

Several Democrats latched onto the story on Friday, saying that if it was true it would provide grounds for impeachment. The president, meanwhile, used the report to renew his allegations that his former lawyer was lying to reduce a potential prison sentence.


But the special counsel's office threw cold water on buzz surrounding the latest bombshell allegation involving Trump when it released a rare statement Friday night calling the story's characterization of documents and testimony obtained by its office "inaccurate."

“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,” special counsel spokesman Peter Carr said Friday.

Trump himself issued a rebuke of the news organization, calling the report's publication a "very sad day for journalism, but a great day for our Country!"

"I appreciate the special counsel coming out with a statement last night. I think it was very appropriate they did so," the president told reporters Saturday when asked about the story.

His son, Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpWhite House calls Democratic witness's mentioning of president's youngest son 'classless' Lawmakers to watch during Wednesday's impeachment hearing Top Democrats knock Trump on World AIDS Day MORE, aimed harsher criticism at BuzzFeed and the media for "undermining democracy."

"Maybe the left will one day stop trying desperately to destroy my family and especially @realDonaldTrump. Till then they will keep failing miserably while also undermining themselves and our democracy," he tweeted Saturday morning.

White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayGrocery store behind viral reusable bag at impeachment hearing offers 'free briefcase' promotion Watchdog report finds FBI not motivated by political bias in Trump probe GOP counsel raises eyebrows with shopping bag at impeachment hearing MORE used the incident to call for cable news networks like CNN and MSNBC that mentioned BuzzFeed's reporting to apologize for their coverage. No major news organizations were able to confirm the BuzzFeed story with their own published reports.

"Dear Media Types, Your job is to get the story, not get the President," Conway tweeted. "If you dove into #buzzfeed headfirst yesterday, you own it, too. 'If true' was a faint murmur. 'Impeach' was said 200x on CNN & MSNBC. The 3 networks devoted 27 minutes to it. Maybe just apologize?"

Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel compared the incident to BuzzFeed's decision in January 2017 to published a dossier of unverified allegations about Trump's ties to Russia. Republicans have long blasted the opposition research document.

"The entire premise of this story, which received wall-to-wall coverage, was based on evidence' the reporters admitted they never even saw," she wrote on Twitter.

"Who could've predicted that the publishers of the phony dossier would get this wrong, too?"

"Lots of journalists rallying to BuzzFeed, which means they’ll learn nothing and the same reporters will do it all again," added conservative author Erick Erickson.

"'Well Muller won’t say which parts are untrue' That’s not journalism. You don’t throw a bunch of shit out there and then demand the person you write it about clarify it for you. That’s tabloidism," wrote Stephen Miller, a conservative commentator.

The president's former adviser Sebastian GorkaSebastian Lukacs GorkaNikki Haley responds to Gorka: 'I did' tell Trump of concerns about Kelly and Tillerson Jeff Sessions calling Alabama lawmakers about 2020 Senate bid Trump attacks Sessions: A 'total disaster' and 'an embarrassment to the great state of Alabama' MORE also chimed in, commenting that the article's potential inaccuracies had tarnished BuzzFeed's reputation.

BuzzFeed stood by the story in a statement Friday night after Mueller's office disputed the report.

"We stand by our reporting and the sources who informed it, and we urge the Special Counsel to make clear what he's disputing," BuzzFeed News said.

The website's editor-in-chief Ben Smith also defended the outlet's reporting during interviews Friday night on CNN and MSNBC.