The longtime personal lawyer for President Donald Trump has filed a defamation lawsuit against BuzzFeed for publishing an unverified dossier of allegations about Trump's presidential campaign and Russian Federation. Michael Cohen said in a Twitter post on Tuesday, calling the dossier "fake". "My name was included only because of my proximity to the president".
He said that seems much more likely than the report that a former Trump campaign adviser's drunken boasts - not the dossier - led to the investigation.
BuzzFeed responded with a Twitter post saying the dossier continues to be the subject of investigations by Congress and intelligence agencies, was shown to two United States presidents and described in detail by news outlets worldwide.
The dossier, a 35-page document containing, among other things, unsubstantiated allegations linking the Trump campaign to Russian Federation, was first published by BuzzFeed previous year.
The suit against Fusion GPS and its co-founder Glenn Simpson was filed in federal court in the Southern District of New York, Cohen said. It was presented to two successive presidents, and has been described in detail by news outlets around the world.
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Cohen also claimed that Fusion GPS was reckless with the Russian dossier by allowing the media, who had the intention of creating breaking news about President Trump's candidacy, to have access to it. "Its interest to the public is obvious", Buzzfeed spokesman Matt Mittenthal said in a statement. "This is not the first time Trump's personal lawyer has attacked the free press, and we look forward to defending our First Amendment rights in court". He provided the complaint and a confirmation email from the court system that he had filed the suit to Bloomberg News, but it could not immediately be independently confirmed that the suit had been filed.
Since then, congressional probes have revealed that FBI officials involved in the investigation at the time had also expressed personal enmity for Trump and discussed an "insurance plan" in the case of Trump's election.
Mr Mueller's team has produced two indictments and two guilty pleas by former aides to Mr Trump's campaign.
Steele's work was commissioned by Fusion GPS, on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Cohen said he has never been to Prague and his passport shows no visits to the Czech Republic.
Fusion GPS was originally hired to do research during the 2016 Republican primary campaign for a still unknown Republican donor who wanted to defeat Trump.
U.S. President Donald Trump attends a signing ceremony for the Interdict Act into law, to provide Customs and Border Protection agents with the latest screening technology on the fight against the opioid crisis, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington D.C., U.S., January 10, 2018.