On Friday, a left-of-center news organization published a report claiming that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had evidence that President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen had visited Prague during the 2016 election campaign which would validate claims made in the Democrat-funded anti-Trump dossier.
The report, from McClatchy DC, came as rumors were swirling that Trump was considering firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and possibly even Mueller following a week of turmoil in which the FBI raided the home and office of Trump’s personal lawyer. The Washington Times notes:
The McClatchy story on Friday lit up liberal media outlets since, if true, it would confirm a major charge by the British ex-spy. Mr. Steele wrote that Mr. Cohen traveled secretly to Prague in August 2016 to meet Vladimir Putin aides to conspire to cover up Russian hacking of Democratic Party computers. In other words: Trump-Russia collusion.
However, on Monday, the special counsel’s office told the Times that many of the stories surrounding the investigation are not true.
“What I have been telling all reporters is that many stories about our investigation have been inaccurate,” a spokesperson for Mueller said. “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. If another outlet reports something, don’t run with it unless you have your own sourcing to back it up.”
As The Daily Caller reports, “Three days later, no other news outlet has confirmed the report, and there are reasons to be skeptical.”
The DC further notes that anti-Trump writer Benjamin Wittes even thought the story was “a little too good” to be true.
“The sourcing is relatively thin,” Wittes wrote on Twitter. “It is sourced to two sources familiar with the matter, who are presumably not Mueller shop folks. It’s not clear to me what the universe of people who would know this sort of thing from a distance looks like.
Note how the story here hedges on this point, describing the confirmation of Cohen's presence in Prague only in hypothetical terms. The reporters are being careful not to say that Cohen was actually in Prague—merely that Mueller has developed some reason to doubt his denial. pic.twitter.com/BnS9rSP23v
— Benjamin Wittes (@benjaminwittes) April 14, 2018
Multiple reports from mainstream media outlets on Mueller’s Russia investigation have been proven false over the last year.
In December, ABC News’ Brian Ross falsely reported that then-candidate Donald Trump directed former national security advisor Michael Flynn to make contact with the Russians during the campaign. This was not true; Trump instructed Flynn to make contact with the Russians after the election.
Just a few days later, Bloomberg cited an unnamed source claiming that Mueller issued subpoenas for obtaining information about Trump’s business dealings with Deutsche Bank. This report turned out to be inaccurate and nearly caused a serious problem as Trump almost fired Mueller over the fake news report.
A few days after Bloomberg’s fake news report, CNN’s Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb falsely reported a timeline of events on an alleged offer made to Donald Trump Jr. in September 2016 from WikiLeaks. CNN’s botched timeline killed the entire story, although it took CNN most of the day before they issued a correction.