President Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen said Wednesday it was not his responsibility to correct a BuzzFeed article alleging that the president directed him to lie to Congress.
The January story alleged that special counsel Robert Mueller has evidence that Mr. Trump directed Cohen to mislead Congress about the status of a Russia hotel project.
Mr. Mueller’s team later disputed the story as inaccurate.
At the time, Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, said he would not confirm or deny it.
Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican, grilled Cohen at the House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on why they didn’t dispute the story that was later denied by Mr. Mueller’s team.
“I didn’t think it was his responsibility to do that,” Cohen said. “We are not the fact-checkers for BuzzFeed.”
In his opening statement, Cohen said Mr. Trump did not instruct him to lie to Congress, but said the president implied that’s what he wanted his longtime fixer to do.
Mr. Jordan hammered Cohen and Mr. Davis for refusing to shoot down the story.
“The special counsel said — something they’ve never done — they said that story was false,” Mr. Jordan said in a fiery exchange with Cohen.
“My response, the president has told something over 9,000 lies [about me] to date, do I ask Mr. Davis or Mr. [Michael] Monico, do I go on television to correct his mistakes?” Cohen responded.
Cohen will begin a three-year prison sentence in May after he pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in 2017 and committing campaign finance violations while he was working for Mr. Trump.