CNN Quadruples Down On Dubious Trump Story — Leaves Out Key Details

Amber Athey | Media and Breaking News Editor

CNN finally released a longer defense of its dubious Trump Tower article on Tuesday but still didn’t address a key issue with their reporting.

CNN’s Jim Sciutto, Carl Bernstein, and Marshall Cohen reported on July 27 that Michael Cohen was prepared to tell special counsel Robert Mueller that President Donald Trump had advance knowledge of a 2016 Trump Tower meeting with the Russians.

Multiple issues have been raised with the story since CNN’s original report. (RELATED: Lanny Davis Busts CNN — Admits He Was Source For Network’s Debunked Story) 

Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper last Wednesday that the reporting got “mixed up” and claimed that he was not a source for the story. He asserted that Cohen “does not” have any information related to when Trump knew about the Trump Tower meeting.

Davis later told BuzzFeed News on Monday night that he “made a mistake” and was, in fact, an anonymous source for the CNN report.

Davis also told the New York Post that he erroneously confirmed CNN’s story on background with multiple other news outlets despite not being in a position to do so.

Furthermore, Cohen allegedly told Congress on two separate occasions that he had no advance knowledge of the Trump Tower meeting and only learned about it afterward in the press. That contradicts the idea that Cohen was present when Trump learned the Trump Tower meeting would take place — something CNN’s sources said he was prepared to tell prosecutors.

CNN has, until now, refused to update readers with any of Davis’ backtracking or contradictory statements. On Tuesday afternoon, the authors of the original piece laid out Davis’ missteps but explained that the network is still standing by the story.

“CNN did not report whether Trump knew about the meeting before it happened — only that Cohen was making that claim while hoping for a deal from prosecutors,” the reporters wrote, adding that “for more than three weeks, Davis did not raise any issues to CNN about its reporting.”

CNN did not reassure readers about the credibility of its other sources or explain why they feel the reporting is strong enough to dismiss Davis and his credibility problems.

The network also hinted that Michael Cohen might have more to say about his claims, writing, “Cohen, unlike Davis, has not publicly addressed what he might have said to friends, associates or reporters about these matters.”

Interestingly, CNN’s explanation never addresses the fact that the July 27 report simultaneously used Davis as an anonymous source and allowed him to decline to comment on the record. (RELATED: How The Media Is Duping Readers With ‘Anonymous Sources’)

Allowing Davis to decline comment effectively deceived readers into believing that Davis was not a source for the CNN story.

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