Democrats who pushed BuzzFeed’s anonymously-sourced report that President Trump had instructed his former lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress were silent Friday evening after Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office issued a statement disputing the report.
“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,” Special Counsel spokesman Peter Carr said in a statement.
Hours before Mueller’s statement, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) issued a statement, suggesting the president may have committed “subornation of perjury” as well as “obstruction of justice,” and pledging to investigate the allegations.
“Our Committee is determined to get to the bottom of this,” he said.
He also tweeted Thursday: “The allegation that the President of the United States may have suborned perjury before our committee in an effort to curtail the investigation and cover up his business dealings with Russia is among the most serious to date. We will do what’s necessary to find out if it’s true.”
The allegation that the President of the United States may have suborned perjury before our committee in an effort to curtail the investigation and cover up his business dealings with Russia is among the most serious to date. We will do what’s necessary to find out if it’s true. https://t.co/GljBAFqOjh
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) January 18, 2019
Schiff was silent on Twitter for hours after the Special Counsel’s statement.
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) tweeted and retweeted tweets on BuzzFeed’s report 15 times, and he went on MSNBC’s Hardball on Friday to discuss the report, just before the Special Counsel released its statement.
After BuzzFeed’s report was published on Thursday, Lieu tweeted in all-caps: “THIS IS OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE.”
Another bombshell story. @realDonaldTrump directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
THIS IS OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE. https://t.co/pdVZ5dsFkc
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) January 18, 2019
His first tweet after the statement was about the shutdown.
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) also jumped on BuzzFeed’s report, tweeting Thursday at 11:26 p.m. ET: “MORE evidence of collusion. If
@realDonaldTrump directed his lawyer to lie, it was to conceal the underlying allegation from being exposed as true. #TheyColluded.”
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) January 18, 2019
He also appeared on Hardball with Lieu, and retweeted a link to his appearance, but was silent Friday night on the BuzzFeed story after the Special Counsel’s statement.
He did, like Lieu, tweet about the shutdown.
Schiff, Lieu, and Swalwell have been leaders in investigating Trump for potential “collusion” with Russians during his campaign.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) also jumped on the report and pledged to investigate.
We know that the President has engaged in a long pattern of obstruction. Directing a subordinate to lie to Congress is a federal crime. The @HouseJudiciary Committee’s job is to get to the bottom of it, and we will do that work.
— (((Rep. Nadler))) (@RepJerryNadler) January 18, 2019
A number of other Democrats began reviving impeachment talk after the story, according to The Hill:
Rep. David Cicilline (R.I.), the head of House Democrats’ messaging arm, said on CNN on Friday that the allegations laid out in a Thursday BuzzFeed report, if true, are “the most serious threat to the Trump presidency that we’ve seen so far,” as well as an “impeachable offense.”
At least one House Judiciary Committee member, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), a top progressive leader, said the report suggests Trump obstructed justice. “That’s a federal crime,” she said.
And Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), a member of the Intelligence Committee and twin brother of presidential hopeful Julián Castro, said Trump “must resign or be impeached” if the story is accurate.
They were all also silent on BuzzFeed’s report in the hours after the Special Counsel’s statement.
Their accusations and suggestions came despite signs the BuzzFeed report was not accurate.
Breitbart News’s John Nolte published an op-ed earlier on Friday entitled, “Nine Reasons to Be Skeptical of BuzzFeed’s Cohen Report.”
One of the reasons listed was that one of the BuzzFeed report’s authors, Jason Leopold, had admitted on CNN that neigher he nor his co-author had “personally” seen any evidence to back up their “bombshell” report.
“Have you seen any of that corroborating evidence?” the CNN host asked Leopold. “No, not personally,” he responded.
Meanwhile, Nolte noted, the other author told MSNBC that he had seen the documents.
“Nothing juices my confidence in reporting like reporters who cannot keep their story straight,” Nolte wrote.
Rep. Devin Nunes, ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, did find time to tweet after the Special Counsel’s statement.
“Bad day for Fakenews!” he tweeted.
Bad day for Fakenews! https://t.co/e5x74oGoZq
— Devin Nunes (@DevinNunes) January 19, 2019