By Jay Sekulow
Published January 21, 2019
The level of animosity aimed at President Trump by the liberal media reached new heights with the publication of BuzzFeed’s bogus report alleging, per unnamed sources, that the president told his attorney Michael Cohen to lie in congressional testimony about his business dealings with Russia.
The moment the story was published, the liberal media jumped for joy – and the drumbeat started – repeating the falsehoods beginning with a common mantra used by many in the media: “If it’s true . . .”
You can fill in the blanks from there. “If it’s true . . .” – all together now – “the president committed a crime and should be impeached.”
The collective call for impeachment permeated the liberal print media and the liberal air waves for hours. It didn’t matter that the president immediately denied the allegations. And it didn’t matter than none of the mainstream media could confirm the BuzzFeed report – something that usually happens quickly when a story of this nature breaks.
This did not go unnoticed by some members of the media. Consider this editorial from the Washington Examiner:
“We had drafted an editorial warning people to exercise caution about this big story. Given the media track record under Trump, we didn't need to be fortune tellers to issue this warning. But for so many journalists, whose loathing of Trump has become an obstacle to their professional credibility, this story was just too good to check. People kept believing in it, wanting to believe it, even after the two reporters behind the story gave conflicting accounts of whether they’d seen the documents in question.”
In what can only be described as an unprecedented move, the Office of Special Counsel categorically denied the accuracy of the BuzzFeed report.
Peter Carr, a spokesman for Robert Mueller’s office, issued a powerful statement: “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.”
Let’s take a moment to unpack this statement. The Special Counsel’s office focuses on three areas: 1) “BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office”; 2) “and characterizations of documents”; 3) “and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate.”
That’s three critical areas that ARE NOT ACCURATE. The description of specific statements – the characterization of documents – and testimony obtained by the Special Counsel’s office – ARE NOT ACCURATE. That’s according to the Office of Special Counsel – the entity that actually heads up the investigation.
President Trump was quick to thank the Office of Special Counsel: “It was a total phony story, and I appreciate the special counsel coming out with a statement last night,” Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House before a visit to Dover Air Force Base on Saturday.
Even a denial by the Office of Special Counsel could not silence President Trump’s critics. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Sunday that he will “absolutely” investigate the BuzzFeed report. Based on what? A bogus BuzzFeed report?
And then there’s the fact that BuzzFeed itself still stands by its deeply flawed story. BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith said: “We stand by our reporting and the sources who informed it, and we urge the Special Counsel to make clear what he’s disputing.” Disturbing. Standing by a report that the Office of Special Counsel soundly rejects?
As counsel to the president, exposing the BuzzFeed story for what it really was proved once more that media speculation with no factual backup not only damages the credibility of the news media itself but represents a danger to our constitutional republic.