Donald Trump Jr. went after CNN on Sunday, accusing the network of “covering for” two of the reporters who wrote a story in July alleging that President Donald Trump had foreknowledge of a Trump Tower meeting.
“Comical to watch @CNN covering for leftist hack @carlbernstein. He & Obama staffer @jimsciutto obviously got story wrong. CNN ‘stands by’ it anyway, defending literal fake news,” Trump Jr. wrote on Twitter.
Comical to watch @CNN covering for leftist hack @carlbernstein. He & Obama staffer @jimsciutto obviously got story wrong. CNN “stands by” it anyway, defending literal fake news. 3 “reporters” were fired for false CNN hit on @Scaramucci & this is FAR worse! https://t.co/KdgpXfGhgT
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) August 27, 2018
Trump Jr. was responding to CNN standing by a July 27 report asserting that former Trump attorney Michael Cohen was prepared to tell special counsel Robert Mueller that he was present at a meeting where Trump Jr. told his father about a meeting offer from a group of Russians who claimed to have dirt on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Carl Bernstein and Jim Sciutto wrote the story along with CNN’s Marshall Cohen.
According to CNN’s anonymous sources, Trump approved the meeting, which occurred on June 9, 2016. Democrats and Trump critics seized on the story because both Trump and Trump Jr. have publicly denied that Trump knew about the meeting until it was reported in the press in July 2017. (RELATED: Cohen Attorney Backtracks On Claim That Trump Had Advance Knowledge Of Russian Hacking)
But Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, poured cold water on the story Wednesday, saying that Cohen did not know one way or the other whether Trump knew about the meeting.
“So Michael Cohen does not have information that President Trump knew about the Trump Tower meeting with the Russians beforehand or even after?” CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked Davis during an interview.
“No, he does not,” said Davis, who served as special counsel for former President Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
“Well, I think the reporting of the story got mixed up in the course of a criminal investigation. We were not the source of the story. And the question of a criminal investigation, the advice we were given, those of us dealing with the media is that we could not do anything other than stay silent,” said Davis.
Cohen’s attorneys also told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that he is standing by his testimony in 2017 that he did not know about the Trump Tower meeting until it was reported in the press.
CNN stayed silent on the story until Saturday, when a spokeswoman for the network told The Washington Post, “We stand by our story, and are confident in our reporting of it.”
The network has not written about Davis’ clarification of the Trump Tower story except in a nightly newsletter published by CNN media reporter Brian Stelter.
“Pro-Trump web sites are claiming that the CNN story was a ‘lie,’ and that it’s been ‘debunked.’ They might want it to be ‘debunked,’ but it’s not. The critics don’t know who CNN’s sources were,” Stelter wrote.
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