Special Counsel Robert Mueller III's office on Friday denied an explosive report by BuzzFeed News that his investigators had gathered evidence showing President Donald Trump directed his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, to lie to Congress about a prospective business deal in Moscow.
"BuzzFeed's description of specific statements to the special counsel's office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen's congressional testimony are not accurate," said Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, The Washington Post reports.
The statement was remarkable on several levels - first, the special counsel's office speaks exceedingly rarely, and second, the statement seemed to drive a stake through a sensational allegation that Democratic lawmakers suggested earlier in the day could spell the end of the Trump presidency.
The story published by BuzzFeed Thursday night attributed to two federal law enforcement officials an incendiary assertion: that Mueller had collected emails, texts, and testimony indicating Trump had directed Cohen to lie to Congress about the extent of discussions surrounding a proposed Trump Tower project in Moscow. That project never came to pass, but Cohen pleaded guilty last year to lying to Congress about the matter.
The BuzzFeed report strongly implied the president might have committed a crime, dramatically raising speculation of possible impeachment.
The special counsel's office had never previously issued a public statement regarding evidence in its investigation into Trump and Russian interference in the 2016 election.
BuzzFeed News said in a statement, "We are continuing to report and determine what the special counsel is disputing. We remain confident in the accuracy of our report."
This story was originally from The Washington Post and republished here with permission