With BuzzFeed reporting that President Donald Trump directed former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about Trump’s involvement in the Moscow Trump Tower project, it would seem to be an obvious move for this White House communications team to flatly deny the story right away. Yet, during a Fox News appearance this morning, White House spokesperson Hogan Gidley deflected and avoided answering the question at all, instead focusing on discrediting BuzzFeed as a whole.
During an interview on America’s Newsroom, co-anchor Sandra Smith noted that the report sourced two law enforcement officials and that it states that the president pushed Cohen to lie to Congress in order to obscure his involvement in the Russian project during the presidential campaign. Asked how the president is reacting to the story, Gidley answered it is “absolutely ludicrous that we are giving any type of prudence or credibility to a news outlet like BuzzFeed.”
After Gidley railed against BuzzFeed for publishing the “completely false” Steele Dossier, co-anchor Bill Hemmer pointed out that the reporters have said they didn’t physically see the evidence the law enforcement sources are citing in the piece, causing the spokesperson to go off some more on BuzzFeed and media coverage of Trump in general.
“You are saying about the president did not tell Michael Cohen to do that?” Hemmer asked directly.
“I’m telling you now this is exactly why the president refuses to give any credence or credibility to news outlets because they have no ability to corroborate anything they’re putting out there,” Gidley replied. “They are just using innuendo, shady sources.”
Hemmer noted that was not a denial of his question, leading Gidley to say that the “premise is ridiculous” before pivoting to labeling Cohen a liar and felon.
“But the headline in that report, that the president personally directed his longtime attorney to lie to Congress about negotiations involving Trump Tower,” Smith interjected. “Is that true or false?”
Yet again, Gidley wouldn’t answer, saying he won’t “give any credence or credibility to Michael Cohen.” Once more, it should be noted that the BuzzFeed story sources law enforcement officials who state that the Mueller investigation has gleaned this information from multiple witnesses, emails and a trove of documents.
Meanwhile, this morning, the president’s first public reaction to the report was to quote a Fox News reporter critically assessing Cohen while also threatening Cohen’s father-in-law.
Watch the clip above, via Fox News.