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Schiff: Congress will 'absolutely' investigate claims raised in BuzzFeed report

Schiff: Congress will 'absolutely' investigate claims raised in BuzzFeed report
© Keren Carrion

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffBiden holds off punishing Saudi crown prince, despite US intel Overnight Defense: Biden sends message with Syria airstrike | US intel points to Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi killing | Pentagon launches civilian-led sexual assault commission Democrats demand Saudi accountability over Khashoggi killing MORE (D-Calif.) said Sunday that he will "absolutely" investigate a BuzzFeed News report that said President TrumpDonald TrumpNoem touts South Dakota coronavirus response, knocks lockdowns in CPAC speech On The Trail: Cuomo and Newsom — a story of two embattled governors McCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 MORE directed his former personal attorney to lie to Congress, despite the special counsel's office pushing back on the story.

Schiff suggested on CBS's "Face the Nation" that the special counsel's office's rare response knocking down the story was likely spurred by the reaction to the report, which included calls for investigation and consideration of impeachment.

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

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The other reason, Schiff said, is that Trump's pick for attorney general, William Barr, would not commit to making special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump MORE's final report public.

"We need to do our own investigations because at the end of the day if the Justice Department tries to stonewall the release of that report for whatever reason, the American people are going to need to know what happened," Schiff said.

Schiff said he intends to ask Cohen to appear before the House Intelligence Committee either voluntarily, or by subpoena if necessary.

Cohen, who was sentenced last year to three years in prison, is scheduled to testify before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Feb. 7.

BuzzFeed reported on Friday that Trump had directed Cohen to lie to Congress about the timing of negotiations over a potential Trump Tower in Moscow. The story cited "two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter. 

Other news outlets were not able to independently confirm BuzzFeed's reporting, though the story received significant attention on cable news, and was the subject of extensive analysis online.

The special counsel's office pushed back on the story, issuing a rare statement that said the news outlet's "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."

Trump and his allies spotlighted the special counsel's statement to excoriate the press as biased.

BuzzFeed News has stood by its reporting.