Trump's personal lawyer files lawsuit against BuzzFeed, Fusion GPS over Russia dossier

Pat Wise
January 13, 2018

However, just a day before the op-ed's publication, Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen announced he was suing Buzzfeed for publishing the dossier.

Court documents from the United Kingdom, where Steele is now being sued for defamation by a Russian businessman mentioned in the report, show that he was also instructed by Fusion GPS to give at least two briefings to major media organizations, including The New York Times, CNN, and Yahoo News.

Cohen sued Buzzfeed Inc for defamation over allegations about him in a dossier the news organisation published that was commissioned in 2016 by the president's political opponents.

"Mr. Cohen's reputation has been permanently damaged by these false, reckless and unconscionable statements made about Mr. Cohen and although no amount of money can ever remedy the damage that has been sustained by Mr. Cohen, we will be seeking maximum damages for the lies contained in the so called dossier", the Garden City-based lawyer said in an email.

Buzzfeed has publicly affirmed its decision to publish the material, claiming it to be clearly within the public interest and looks forward to defend its decision to do so on First Amendment freedom of press grounds.

"He said we should tell the Federal Bureau of Investigation, it's a national security issue", Simpson recalled to congressional investigators in August, according to a transcript of a closed-door interview with the Senate Judiciary Committee released this week. A few weeks later, Buzzfeed chose to go ahead and publish it, raising questions about ethics as the accusations listed in the dossier remained unsubstantiated.

The dossier, a 35-page document containing, among other things, unsubstantiated allegations linking the Trump campaign to Russian Federation, was first published by BuzzFeed past year.

Cohen depicts himself in the Fusion lawsuit as "collateral damage" in a campaign against Trump.

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BuzzFeed responded to Michael Cohen's lawsuit by saying it published the unredacted, tabloid-ish dossier because "its interest to the public is obvious".

Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Senate committee, released the testimony on Tuesday without Republican approval, in an apparent bid to neutralise Republican criticism of the Russian Federation investigation. "It was presented to two successive presidents, and has been described in detail by news outlets around the world", BuzzFeed News spokesperson Matt Mittenthal said in a statement.

Simpson told investigators he first spoke with Steele about conducting opposition research into Trump in May or June of 2016.

"They had other intelligence about this matter from an internal Trump campaign source and ... they believed Chris' information might be credible", Mr Simpson testified.

Cohen stated in his lawsuit that the dossier made false claims about his family ties to Russian Federation, also denying that he flew over there to meet with certain government officials.

"Plaintiff has never even been to Prague, Czech Republic, let alone in August of 2016", attorney David M. Schwartz states. Cohen testified to the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors on October 24 and publicly to the Senate Intelligence Committee on October 25.

Trump has frequently criticized his own Justice Department over its handling of the investigation into Clinton's email use as secretary of state.

A new report by Senate Democrats, being published later today and previewed here by the New York Times, says Russian interference in the 2016 election fits into a pattern of meddling over almost two decades.

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