Tucker Carlson debated BuzzFeed News’ editor-in-chief Ben Smith over the site’s two major “bombshell” stories about Russian collusion on Monday night.
The more recent report from BuzzFeed alleged that President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen told prosecutors working for Robert Mueller that the president instructed him to lie to Congress about his efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow during the 2016 presidential campaign. The special counsel’s office denied the report.
“Here you have Cohen and the Mueller investigation both debunking the so-called bombshell that you ran in January, and you are refusing to admit it has been debunked. I just played two pieces of tape, Michael Cohen saying essentially what BuzzFeed said is not true, but you’re claiming it is still true — on what grounds?” Carlson asked. (RELATED: Trump Jr. Reacts To Mueller Labeling BuzzFeed News’ Story As ‘Not Accurate’)
Smith answered, “If this was my show, I would’ve extended both of those clips a little longer. The first to show Michael Cohen saying in his way he was telling me to lie, which I just don’t think there is a lot of dispute now that Cohen is saying that he claims, you could say he was lying, you don’t have to believe Michael Cohen, he claims he believes Trump was telling him to lie. Now when this first went out you guys were calling it a hoax.”
They then both talked over one another.
“Cohen described a personal meeting with Jay Sekulow and Trump, in which in discussing his testimony, and this is something everyone is chasing to get more details of it. It’s a little hard for us to argue about it in the absence of like a transcript of the meeting. This isn’t Nixon, we don’t have audio,” Smith added.
Carlson followed up:
Look, I want to say just once again and be totally clear, I genuinely respect your coming on to defend your reporting. Most people won’t, you will. I think you deserve a lot of credit for that but it’s the details that matter in life as in news stories. In your story you said, and I’m again quoting it, ‘He explicitly told Cohen to lie.’ Cohen was asked twice by two separate Democratic members of Congress if that was true, he had every reason to say it was true, but he said it was untrue. So why not just say maybe parts of our story were right but we got over our skis, we went too far and made a claim we can’t back up? The subject of the allegation he now denies and we admit it?
“I guess I think, as Jason said recently, that the bar now seems to be, did he say, ‘Michael, I now instruct you to lie,'” Smith added.
The other BuzzFeed bombshell was the Steele dossier back in 2017. The report, which was authored by former British spy Christopher Steele, allege that the Trump campaign and Russian government conspired with one another during the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.
Many details in the dossier have been proven false, including the claim that Cohen went to Prague to meet with Russians, which Cohen reiterated during his testimony in front of the House Oversight Committee last week.