Longtime Clinton ally and current Michael Cohen lawyer Lanny Davis has been under fire recently after he outed himself as one of CNN’s anonymous sources for its huge July Trump Tower story that claimed Cohen was willing to tell Special Counsel Robert Mueller that President Donald Trump knew in advance about the June 2016 meeting to get Russian dirt on Hillary Clinton. He addressed his backtracking over the story in an interview with Fox News’ Howard Kurtz on Sunday morning.
And, quite frankly, Davis again made it clear that he is an extremely unreliable narrator.
Just to recap, after Cohen pleaded guilty to numerous federal charges and implicated Trump in hush payments to two women during the election, Davis contradicted CNN’s story by saying “I think the reporting of the story got mixed up in the course of a criminal investigation” while claiming they “were not the source of the story.” He would go on to tell other outlets that he couldn’t confirm the story before eventually letting BuzzFeed News know that he was one of CNN’s sources, causing a firestorm of controversy for both him and the network.
“I was never sure in my confirmation,” Davis told Kurtz. “I was uncertain. In fact, I expressed my uncertainty, but not clear enough. I can understand they interpreted what I said as a confirmation and I have not blamed CNN, I blamed myself for not being more clear.”
The attorney continuously expressed that “in my mind” he didn’t mean to intentionally mislead CNN or confirm their story, adding that he “should not have encouraged any reporter.”
“The lesson I learned: I’m not certain, even on background, I should not be asking reporters to do investigative work when I’m not sure,” Davis stated.
He went on to say this was a “teachable moment” when it comes to floating stories on background, noting that those acting as sources need to clear on the facts. Kurtz pressed him on telling Anderson Cooper that he wasn’t a source for the story, causing Davis to say he was sorry for not explaining himself better to Cooper.
“You are saying as Michael Cohen’s lawyer you don’t believe your client had any direct knowledge that the president knew in advance about the Trump Tower meeting with the Russian lawyer,” Kurtz asked. “Am I right?”
“I can’t tell you what Mr. Cohen has told me,” Davis responded. “But I am not sure he did and it requires additional reporting. And I am not sure he did not. I know there’s a lot of fuzzy memories here. There are people in and out of the room with Mr. Trump all the time. I have heard people say of course he knew, his son would have told him ahead of time. That’s the key mistake. I take the responsibility. An assumption is not a fact.”
Kurtz would go on to laud Davis for coming forward and admitting a mistake as it is rare in Washington.
Meanwhile, as the Kurtz/Davis interview aired on Fox News, Reliable Sources guest host John Avlon discussed the criticism surrounding CNN’s story, noting that Davis was just one of the story’s sources while speculating that Cohen’s attorney may have ulterior motives behind his retraction.
“Why did he backtrack?” Avlon pondered. “It could be to save his client from a perjury trap given previous statements made to Congress.”
Watch the clip above, via Fox News.