President Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani told Fox News on Monday that his team communicated with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office about last week's BuzzFeed News article alleging that Trump ordered his former lawyer attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress -- and agreed a significant portion of it was false.
BuzzFeed reported that its sources had seen texts, emails and other documents confirming the allegations that Trump directed Cohen to mislead lawmakers about the timing of discussions with Russian government officials over a proposed Trump Tower project in Moscow, though BuzzFeed’s reporters never saw the evidence for themselves. Giuliani disputes that the evidence even exists.
"We commend them for standing up for the truth," Giuliani said, referring to Mueller’s team.
The special counsel's office took the rare step Friday of publicly repudiating the BuzzFeed story, with spokesman Peter Carr saying the article'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."
BuzzFeed News Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith responded to Carr's statement Friday by saying: "We stand by our reporting and the sources who informed it, and we urge the Special Counsel to make clear what he's disputing."
The special counsel's office does not usually issue statements in response to news reports about the Russia investigation. However, the BuzzFeed report caused a frenzy among congressional Democrats, some of whom suggested the story could be used as a basis for impeachment proceedings against the president.
"There are no texts and emails or other documents to corroborate BuzzFeed's claim for the simple reason that it is not true," Giuliani told Fox News. "Whoever is responsible for this is lying."
Giuliani told Fox News that Trump "had several conversations with Michael Cohen about the Trump Tower proposal. Cohen said the effort ended in January of 2016, and as far as President Trump knows, it ended then." However, Giuliani added that Trump can't say definitely when the proposal was shelved and answered a written question from Mueller to that effect.
"President Trump remembers very little about this, and Michael Cohen keeps saying different things," Giuliani said. "There are no documents to reflect anything about this transaction other than a letter of intent."
The president's attorney added that the scope of the questions from Mueller "went to the end of 2016, but that doesn't mean the Trump Tower proposal goes until then.”
Trump himself waded into the controversy on Saturday, telling reporters the story "was a disgrace to our country" and "a disgrace to journalism."
He continued, "I think also that the coverage by the mainstream media was disgraceful and I think it's going to take a long time for the mainstream media to recover its credibility."