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Mueller Almost Never Speaks About His Case. He Just Did

Special counsel offers 'rare' public statement refuting part of BuzzFeed report on Trump, Cohen
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2019 6:00 AM CST
In this June 21, 2017, file photo, special counsel Robert Mueller departs after a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

(Newser) – The BuzzFeed report that had all of DC abuzz was roundly attacked by Trump supporters Friday after it alleged President Trump had instructed former attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress in 2017 about efforts to build a condo tower in Moscow. On Friday, a new detractor of the report (or part of it, at least) emerged: the office of special counsel Robert Mueller. In what the New York Times calls a "rare public statement," Mueller, via spokesman Peter Carr, said that "BuzzFeed's description of 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." CNN notes that it's "highly unusual" for Mueller to offer anything other than standard legal notifications to the media about how the probe into Russian election interference is going.

BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith took to Twitter to defend the report, and to pressure Mueller's office to spell out what exactly the issue is. "We stand by our reporting and the sources who informed it, and we urge the Special Counsel to make clear what he's disputing," Smith tweeted. Before Mueller's rep issued the statement, senior members of Congress had noted the report could be grounds for impeachment, and the White House had gone on the attack against it, with press secretary Sarah Sanders telling reporters Friday it was "categorically false." After the Mueller statement, Trump himself weighed in. "Remember it was Buzzfeed that released the totally discredited 'Dossier,' paid for by Crooked Hillary Clinton and the Democrats (as opposition research), on which the entire Russian probe is based!" he tweeted Friday night. "A very sad day for journalism, but a great day for our Country!" (Read more Robert Mueller stories.)

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