BuzzFeed News investigative reporter Anthony Cormier on Sunday declined to explain why his colleague Jason Leopold claimed to have seen documents proving that President Trump had ordered his former lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress — contradicting Cormier’s insistence that he had not personally seen the documents.
“We can’t get into, like, the details there,” Cormier, sitting next to BuzzFeed News Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith, told CNN’s “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter. “We really can’t go any further at all, in order not to jeopardize our sources.”
Leopold did not appear for the interview, which occassionally became tense as Stelter openly criticized BuzzFeed’s journalistic practices. Smith claimed Leopold, who has been out of the public view since Friday, was busy “reporting.”
Leopold has been involved in numerous scandals during his career related to his false reports, including one in 2002 for Salon.com about Enron that the outlet said was “riddled with inaccuracies and misrepresentations,” and another incorrect story in 2006 for Truthout.org about supposedly pending indictments against former George W. Bush aide Karl Rove.
Cormier and Leopold authored a bombshell, discredited report on Thursday, citing two law enforcement officials who said Cohen acknowledged to Special Counsel Mueller’s office that Trump told him to lie to Congress about a potential real-estate deal in Moscow, and claim that the negotiations ended months before they did so as to conceal Trump’s involvement.
The article, which prompted Democrats to call for Trump’s impeachment if it turned out to be true, said that Cohen’s testimony “marks a significant new frontier: It is the first known example of Trump explicitly telling a subordinate to lie directly about his own dealings with Russia.”
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