Over twelve hours after explosive reporting that Donald Trump instructed Michael Cohen to give false testimony to Congress about the Moscow Trump Tower deal, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani finally crawled out of a bunker to issue a denial.
“Any suggestion from any source that the president counseled Michael Cohen to lie is categorically false,” Giuliani said in statement, before going on to malign Cohen as “a liar” who couldn’t be trusted. “Today’s claims are just more made-up lies born of Michael Cohen’s malice and desperation, in an effort to reduce his sentence.”
Notably, Cohen was not a source for the BuzzFeed story. But Giuliani has a history of flapping his gums on a lot of things, including his recent lie that he “never said there was no collusion.” (He has said that many, many times, and now wants a takebacksy.) So it’s notable that Giuliani sat on his statement for a while, even after the White House was given a chance to deny the story by BuzzFeed reporters before they published. In the meantime, other White House aides have made a concerted effort to avoid giving actual denials of the allegation.
“This is absolutely ludicrous that we are giving any type of credence or credibility to a news outlet like BuzzFeed,” White House spokesperson Hogan Gidley told Fox News Friday. “There is nothing in that piece that can be corroborated.”
That sounds more like a White House aide running scared than a denial.
Kellyanne Conway also declined to give a yes or a no answer when asked directly whether Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress, reportedly brushing by reporters in the White House driveway on her way to the anti-abortion March for Life. In fact, the annual march served as a blind for many of Trump’s usual defenders. GOP Rep. Jim Jordan and Vice President Mike Pence, for instance, filled their feeds with March for Life tweets.
Conspicuously absent was much of anyone vehemently and categorically denying Trump’s involvement besides Trump’s lawyer—and as we know, Uncle Rudy will say pretty much anything, and then sometimes deny he said it the next day.