There was a Michael Cohen in Prague, a government source told CNN, but it wasn’t the Michael Cohen an uncorroborated report identified as President-elect Donald Trump’s legal counsel.
The shocking report claimed that Cohen, the executive vice president of the Trump Organizations and special counsel to Trump himself, traveled to Prague to meet with Russian officials in August. It also claimed Cohen’s Ukrainian father-in-law had a dacha, or cottage, near that of Russian President Vladimir Putin. CNN’s Jake Tapper noted Wednesday that his reporting suggested a different Michael Cohen with the same birthday traveled to Prague around the same time under a foreign passport.
“I’m telling you emphatically that I’ve not been to Prague, I’ve never been to Czech [Republic], I’ve not been to Russia,” Cohen told The Atlantic in response to the report Tuesday. “The story is completely inaccurate, it is fake news meant to malign Mr. Trump.”
Cohen said that he was visiting the University of Southern California with his son and met the university’s baseball coach. A USC baseball source then confirmed to The Atlantic that Cohen and his son visited USC Aug. 29. Cohen claimed he was at the university from Aug. 23 – 29, and spent the rest of the month in New York. Cohen’s only claimed travel to the European Union that summer was a July vacation to Italy.
Government source confirms different Michael Cohen was in Prague https://t.co/B4cwmL1Ek3
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) January 11, 2017
Buzzfeed published the report on Trump’s Russian ties Tuesday, claiming the information came from an unnamed former British intelligence agent as part of opposition research on Trump. In addition to the allegations against Cohen, the 35-page document included unverified claims that Trump solicited prostitutes while visiting Russia.
The report was received by Sen. John McCain, who then sent it to the FBI. CNN reported that Trump and President Obama had been briefed by intelligence officials that Russia may have compromising information against Trump. As Buzzfeed noted, much of the report was unsubstantiated and included several errors.
“And It’s one of the reasons why the intelligence chiefs did not get specific with these allegations,” explained Tapper while appearing on CNN Wednesday. “And that’s why I hope at the press conference today, people are more general and don’t get into the specifics, because a lot of that stuff just has not been proven.”
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