Networks Punt on Lanny Davis Blowing Huge Hole in CNN’s Trump Tower Collusion Story

On Thursday, the “big three” morning and evening network newscasts of ABC, CBS, and NBC failed to inform their viewers that Michael Cohen did not actually know whether then-candidate Donald Trump had a heads-up on the infamous Trump Tower when media reports starting on July 26 originally claimed otherwise.

This massive correction by Cohen lawyer Lanny Davis was ignored on the networks despite the fact that the original claim fetched 28 minutes and 29 seconds of coverage on their July 27 morning and evening newscasts.

 

 

While it spread quickly to other outlets, CNN’s Carl Bernstein, Marshall Cohen, and Jim Sciutto appeared on the July 26 Cuomo PrimeTime to drop the bombshell claim that Michael Cohen would tell federal investigators that President Trump knew of the infamous Trump Tower meeting before it took place. 

Of course, the CNN.com story has not been updated, even though an Axios piece and Davis’s appearance on Wednesday’s AC360 both obliterated the story that sent CNN and fellow Resistance-types (including Brian Stelter) into a giddy mood.

Host Anderson Cooper seem perplexed with Davis’s claim that Cohen had “testified truthfully to the Senate Intelligence Committee and, according to the chair and vice chair of the committee, he told them that he had no knowledge of the meeting until he saw it in the press” because “[e]ither he knew about the meeting or he didn't know about the meeting.”

Davis shot back by declaring the media to have gotten their reporting “mixed up in the course of a criminal investigation,” adding that “[w]e were not the source of the story and in the course of a criminal investigation, the advice we were given — those of us dealing with the media is that we could not do anything other than stay silent.”

Cooper then asked an elongated follow-up and Davis responded (click “expand” for more):

DAVIS: Senator Burr and Senator Warner read the answer to the question about his testimony, which is that he said he was not aware ahead of time and did not hear anything to the contrary and that was the testimony before the Senate as well as the House Intelligence Committees and he said that that testimony was accurate. 

COOPER: So, Michael Cohen does not have information that President Trump knew about the Trump Tower meeting with the Russians beforehand or even after? 

DAVIS: No, there’s not. 

Davis doubled down on those comments when he told Axios’s Jonathan Swan: “It was painful. We were not the source, we could not confirm, and we could not correct. We had to be silent because of the sensitivity needed in the middle of a criminal investigation.”

Here’s the lede graphs from that much-celebrated CNN.com scoop that’s now in tatters (click “expand” for more):

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, claims that then-candidate Trump knew in advance about the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower in which Russians were expected to offer his campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton, sources with knowledge tell CNN. Cohen is willing to make that assertion to special counsel Robert Mueller, the sources said.

Cohen's claim would contradict repeated denials by Trump, Donald Trump Jr., their lawyers and other administration officials who have said that the President knew nothing about the Trump Tower meeting until he was approached about it by The New York Times in July 2017.

Cohen alleges that he was present, along with several others, when Trump was informed of the Russians' offer by Trump Jr. By Cohen's account, Trump approved going ahead with the meeting with the Russians, according to sources.

To see the relevant transcript from CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 on August 22, click “expand.”

CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360
August 22, 2018
8:14 p.m. Eastern

ANDERSON COOPER: You were just on with Wolf Blitzer. You said that Michael Cohen was present for a meeting with then-candidate Donald Trump and his son Don Jr. about the Trump Tower meeting. This is obviously an incredibly important issue. You’ve also said that Michael Cohen testified truthfully to the Senate Intelligence Committee and, according to the chair and vice chair of the committee, he told them that he had no knowledge of the meeting until he saw it in the press. How can both of those things be true? Either he knew about the meeting or he didn't know about the meeting. 

LANNY DAVIS: Well, I think the reporting of the story got mixed up in the course of a criminal investigation. We were not the source of the story and in the course of a criminal investigation, the advice we were given — those of us dealing with the media is that we could not do anything other than stay silent. 

COOPER: So can you say now whether, in fact, Michael Cohen has information that President Trump was aware either before the Trump Tower meeting that Don Jr. was part of with Russian attorney claiming to be part — from the Kremlin with dirt on Hillary Clinton, either that Michael Cohen has information that President knew about it in advance or knew about it immediately after? 

DAVIS: Senator Burr and Senator Warner read the answer to the question about his testimony, which is that he said he was not aware ahead of time and did not hear anything to the contrary and that was the testimony before the Senate as well as the House Intelligence Committees and he said that that testimony was accurate. 

COOPER: So, Michael Cohen does not have information that President Trump knew about the Trump Tower meeting with the Russians beforehand or even after? 

DAVIS: No, there’s not. 

NBDaily Trump-Russia probe CNN.com ABC Good Morning America World News Tonight CBS CBS Evening News CBS This Morning NBC NBC Nightly News Today CNN Cuomo PrimeTime Anderson Cooper 360 Fake News Video Michael Cohen Jim Sciutto Carl Bernstein Donald Trump Lanny Davis
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