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Disputed Report: President Trump Instructed Cohen to Lie

A since-disputed report from BuzzFeed News alleges that President Donald Trump ordered his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, to lie to Congress regarding a proposed Trump Tower in Russia.

President Donald Trump

The news outlet cited two anonymous sources, alleged to be "federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter."

These individuals told BuzzFeed that Cohen told Robert Mueller, the special counsel in the Russia probe, that "the president personally instructed him to lie — by claiming that negotiations ended months earlier than they actually did — in order to obscure Trump’s involvement."

According to the report, the special counsel discovered the president's alleged instruction from "interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents," and then confirmed the story with Cohen.

In addition, BuzzFeed reports that Trump "was pushing the Moscow project, which he hoped could bring his company profits in excess of $300 million."

Trump allegedly met with Cohen ten times "during the campaign" to discuss the possible deal, apparently demonstrating a high level of interest in the negotiations.

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Before this bombshell report can be taken as Gospel, it should be noted that BuzzFeed has a troubled relationship with the facts.

In 2017, the site published a Clinton campaign-funded dossier that leveled salacious, sexually-natured allegations against the president, along with the potpourri of easily-refuted side information. For example, the dossier alleged that Michael Cohen travelled to Prague to meet with Russians interferers; in reality, the lawyer had never been to the city.

BuzzFeed's factual rating, according to Media Bias/Fact Check, is "Mixed," and they are deemed as having a "slight to moderate liberal bias." According to Media Bias/Fact Check's report, BuzzFeed has failed several fact checks.

However, it is public knowledge that Cohen has been cooperating with the special counsel in his probe of possible Trump coordination with Russian interferers in the 2016 election. The president, for his part, has repeatedly taken to Twitter to deride Cohen as a "liar," and Trump's current lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has echoed these themes consistently.

As of yet, the special counsel has demonstrated no indication the president colluded with Russia to pull off his upset 2016 victory. In fact, it is believed that the special counsel's investigation was winding down; the reports of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's imminent resignation appear to confirm this.

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