Mediaite’s Aidan McLaughlin: BuzzFeed Taking ‘Victory Lap’ After Cohen Hearing, But It’s More of a ‘Mixed Bag’


It was the report that rocked the nation for 24 hours — until Robert Mueller‘s office took the rare step of refuting it. And after that denial from the special counsel, the Jan. 17 BuzzFeed News story — which asserted Michael Cohen was directed to lie to Congress by President Donald Trump — was dismissed by many, if not ridiculed. Following Cohen’s Capitol Hill testimony on Wednesday, however, BuzzFeed News believes they have been vindicated.

But have they?

Appearing on the Law & Crime network, Mediaite managing editor Aidan McLaughlin broke down BuzzFeed’s assertion that Cohen’s testimony — who said Wednesday that Trump told him to lie “in his way” — backs up their reporting. McLaughlin argued that Cohen’s comments do take BuzzFeed News at least somewhat off the hook.

“BuzzFeed News is kind of having a victory lap, saying that their reporting has been vindicated here,” McLaughlin said. “Because effectively, Michael Cohen is saying, ‘Whether or not [Trump] told me explicitly to lie to Congress, he still wanted me to lie, and made clear to me that was something he wanted me to do.'”

Still, McLaughlin stopped short of calling it a total win — saying BuzzFeed could have chosen their words more carefully when they initially reported that Trump “explicitly” told Cohen to lie.

“I think the issue here for BuzzFeed — it’s kind of a mixed bag for them,” McLaughlin said. “While the essence of their story is vindicated, I think that the language they used, they probably regret a little bit. They said that he explicitly directed Michael Cohen to lie, whereas it’s unclear — at least Michael Cohen on paper is denying it.”

Watch above, via Law & Crime.

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Joe DePaolo is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: Follow him on Twitter: @joe_depaolo