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McClatchy Adds Editor’s Notes To Its Cohen-Prague Reports

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Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter

McClatchy news service has updated two reports published last year that claimed that the special counsel’s office had evidence that bolstered the Steele dossier’s claims about former Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

McClatchy added the updates following the release of Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia investigation. The report said that Cohen did not visit Prague during the 2016, as claimed by dossier author Christopher Steele.

“Cohen had never traveled to Prague and was not concerned about those allegations, which he believed were provably false,” Mueller’s 448-page report states.

That finding deals a fatal blow not just to the dossier, but also to news reports published by McClatchy on April 13, 2018, and Dec. 27, 2018, which now have the following editor’s notes:

EDITOR’S NOTE: Robert Mueller’s report to the attorney general states that Mr. Cohen was not in Prague. It is silent on whether the investigation received evidence that Mr. Cohen’s phone pinged in or near Prague, as McClatchy reported.

In the first report, McClatchy cited two anonymous sources who claimed that the “special counsel has evidence that Donald Trump’s personal lawyer and confidant, Michael Cohen, secretly made a late-summer trip to Prague during the 2016 presidential campaign.” (RELATED: Mueller Report Undercuts Several Steele Dossier Claims)

Robert Mueller, as FBI director, testifies before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on Federal Bureau of Investigation oversight on Capitol Hill in Washington June 13, 2013. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Robert Mueller, as FBI director, testifies before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on Federal Bureau of Investigation oversight on Capitol Hill in Washington June 13, 2013. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

The special counsel’s office issued a rare statement to The Daily Caller News Foundation following that story, suggesting that its core claims could be wrong.

“What I have been telling all reporters is that many stories about our investigation have been inaccurate. Be very cautious about any source that claims to have knowledge about our investigation and dig deep into what they claim before reporting on it,” Mueller spokesman Peter Carr said. “If another outlet reports something, don’t run with it unless you have your own sourcing to back it up.”

In the second story, McClatchy reported that four sources claimed that Mueller’s team had been provided with evidence taken from cell phone towers that placed Cohen’s phone near Prague.

Cohen disputed both reports following their publication. The stories were embraced by many Trump critics, but met with skepticism from others. Neither story was matched by competing news outlets.

The dossier’s claims about Cohen were among the most alarming allegations made in the Democrat-funded report. Steele alleged that Cohen traveled to Prague with three associates to meet with Kremlin insiders to discuss making payments to Russian hackers.

Mueller found no evidence that Cohen or any other Trump associates conspired with Russians to influence the election.

When reached for comment about the Mueller report, a McClatchy spokesperson referred The Daily Caller News Foundation to an article that the outlet published on Thursday.

“McClatchy stands by the reporting,” the latest article reads.

Peter Hasson contributed to this report.

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