BuzzFeed Defends Trump-Russia Blockbuster and Promises to Run Down New Details

“Our reporting is going to be borne out.”

Richard Vogel/AP

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BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith and investigative reporter Anthony Corimer appeared on CNN’s Reliable Sources Sunday to double-down on their blockbuster story alleging President Trump ordered his former personal attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about the president’s dealings in Russia.

“Our reporting is going to be borne out to be accurate and we’re 100 percent behind it,” Cormier, who worked on the story with investigative reporter Jason Leopold, told CNN’s media correspondent Brian Stelter. “The same sources we used in that story are standing behind it, as are we.”

After the report was published last Thursday night, special counsel Robert Mueller took the rare step of releasing a statement denying the accuracy of BuzzFeed’s reporting. The statement sparked intense scrutiny on BuzzFeed’s high-stakes article, and where their two unnamed sources might have got their information from. The news even led some Democratic lawmakers to argue the reporting could end Trump’s presidency.

Days of heated criticism has followed the allegation. At the heart of the dispute is whether or not the special counsel’s office possesses real evidence that Trump directly instructed Cohen to lie to Congress, as BuzzFeed claimed. Pete Carr, Mueller’s spokesperson said, “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.”

“We don’t know everything,” Smith told Stelter during Sunday’s interview. “We know what we know. We know what we know is accurate.” Smith said the company is working hard to corroborate its reporting and run down new details.

The interview comes on the same day that Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, suggested there may, in fact, have been a conversation between Trump and Cohen prior to the congressional testimony, adding that such an exchange would be “perfectly normal” if it happened.

Watch the full interview with Smith and Corimer below:

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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