White House officials Hogan Gidley and Kellyanne Conway slammed the BuzzFeed report alleging that President Trump ordered his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress, but they didn’t deny the allegations outright.
Speaking to Fox News Friday morning, Mr. Gidley did not explicitly refute the claims, arguing that the White House did not want to dignify the report with a response. Instead, he harshly criticized Cohen, BuzzFeed and the authors of the story.
“The premise is ridiculous,” he said. “We’re also talking about a person like Michael Cohen, who quite frankly, has been proven to be a liar.”
Mrs. Conway declined to issue a statement during her interview on Fox Business Network and instead cited a tweet the president put out Friday morning.
Mr. Trump’s tweet did not directly mention the BuzzFeed report, but it quoted Fox News’ Kevin Corke questioning Cohen’s credibility in light of him pleading guilty to perjury.
“Lying to reduce his jail time! Watch father-in-law!” the president added.
Mr. Gidley said it was ‘ludicrous’ to consider BuzzFeed a credible source after it published the anti-Trump dossier by former British spy Christopher Steele during the 2016 presidential campaign. Mrs. Conway also linked this new report to the dossier to suggest the outlet isn’t credible.
A federal judge dismissed the libel suit against BuzzFeed in December 2018.
Mr. Gidley also criticized the reporter for admitting that he hadn’t viewed the evidence himself before publishing.
Anthony Cormier, the co-author of the bombshell report, was asked on CNN’s “New Day” if he reviewed the evidence.
“Not personally,” he said. “The folks we have talked to — two officials we have spoken to — are fully, 100 percent read into that aspect of the special counsel’s investigation.”
Mr. Cormier went on to describe how his sources worked on the Trump Tower Moscow portion of the investigation and have access to hundreds of documents and interview reports.
“It’s 100 percent,” Mr. Cormier added. “I am the individual who confirmed and verified that it happened. I am telling you our sourcing goes beyond the two I was able to put on the record. We were able to gather information from individuals who know this happened.”
Mr. Gidley said relying on the sources was not enough.
“That’s not news, that’s something he sees and puts out there,” he said. “This is just another in a long line of ridiculous charges without any corroboration.”
Mrs. Conway took issue with the sources coming from within the Mueller team.
“That should send a chill down everybody’s spine,” she said. “People should not be leaking information from investigations.”