Jake Tapper claimed on CNN Wednesday that the Steele dossier has been verified in some parts. But while that statement could end up being true, the CNN anchor left out another key part of the story.
Back in January, just after BuzzFeed News published the dossier, Tapper reported on air that sources told him that a jaw-dropping allegation made in the document about Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, was wholly inaccurate.
The dossier, which was written by former British spy Christopher Steele, alleged that Cohen traveled last August to Prague to meet with Russian operatives as part of an effort to help the Trump campaign.
But Tapper reported in that Jan. 10 segment that a government source said that a different Michael Cohen, not the Trump attorney, had actually been in Prague.
“My reporting suggests that people did try to run that down, and they concluded that it was a different Michael Cohen. It was a Michael Cohen with a passport from another country, the same birth year, different birth date. For Michael Cohen to dispute that he was in the Czech Republic completely comports with our reporting,” Tapper said in a segment he posted to Twitter.
Government source confirms different Michael Cohen was in Prague https://t.co/B4cwmL1Ek3
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) January 11, 2017
If accurate, the reporting would significantly undercut the reliability of the rest of the dossier, parts of which allege that Trump was being blackmailed by the Kremlin to do its bidding. As for Cohen, he has denied ever being in Prague. He also produced a copy of his passport to BuzzFeed to show that he had not visited the Czech Republic.
But none of that was mentioned in Tapper’s coverage of the dossier on Wednesday. Instead, he asserted that while the dossier remains largely uncorroborated, parts have been verified.
“Certainly some of the more lurid charges in that dossier remain uncorroborated, but some of the details have been proven accurate,” Tapper said during a segment with CNN reporter Pamela Browne.
Tapper and Browne were discussing the dossier because of Tuesday’s revelation that the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee, acting through their law firm, Perkins Coie, paid political research firm Fusion GPS last April to continue an investigation it had in the works on Trump.
By June, Fusion had hired former British spy Christopher Steele to investigate Trump’s activities in Russia. The result is the 35-page dossier.
The veracity of the dossier’s claims is an increasingly significant question as both government investigators and the media focus more closely on the report.
While most mainstream news outlets repeat the claim that parts of the dossier have been proved true, they often fail to note that none of the most damning allegations against Trump and the campaign have been verified.
It’s not clear why Tapper has not acknowledged his previous reporting on Cohen. He did not respond to an email request for comment.
THE LATEST ON HILLARY CLINTON AND THE TRUMP DOSSIER:
WHAT IS FUSION GPS AND THE TRUMP DOSSIER:
Follow Chuck on Twitter