One of the BuzzFeed journalists behind Thursday’s bombshell report said he understands why Donald Trump would want to shift attention from allegations that he told his then-lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about a possible Trump Tower project in Moscow.
However, he said he doesn’t understand why Trump is trying to shift it to Cohen’s father-in-law.
BuzzFeed’s Jason Leopold was live on MSNBC discussing the story Friday morning when Trump posted this tweet accusing Cohen of lying to reduce his prison sentence:
Leopold responded to the tweet by simply stating the facts.
“I don’t see that there’s any indication from the Southern District of New York that he’s going to receive a reduced sentence, because he’s already been sentenced to three years in prison,” he said.
Leopold also pointed out that Cohen has already agreed to cooperate with the special counsel investigation and that Cohen even tweeted that it “knows all.”
Still, Leopold said he expected something like this from the White House.
“I understand the attempts by the administration and the president himself to sort of shift the public’s attention onto other areas ― Michael Cohen’s father-in-law, [but] to be honest, I don’t understand what that means,” Leopold said.
Leopold said that it is understood that when Cohen’s office was raided, the FBI and the special counsel obtained quite a bit of evidence, including emails and text messages.
Early Friday evening, BuzzFeed posted on Twitter a statement from the Special Counsel’s Office that said BuzzFeed’s characterization of documents and testimony regarding Cohen’s congressional testimony is not accurate.
Leopold did not comment on that tweet, but he told MSNBC earlier in the day that the evidence in the story corroborated earlier reports he has done on Trump’s Moscow project.
“We obtained every single text message Michael Cohen exchanged with Felix Sater on the project. In those text messages, he’s discussing briefing Trump,” Leopold said, referring to the onetime Trump adviser who proposed giving Russian President Vladimir Putin an apartment in the Moscow tower.
This story has been updated to include BuzzFeed’s posting of the special counsel’s statement.