Mueller warns ‘many’ news sto­ries on probe are wrong

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY ROWAN SCAR­BOR­OUGH

Spe­cial Coun­sel Robert Mueller’s of­fice is warn­ing that “many” news ar­ti­cles on the Trump-Rus­sia probe have been wrong.

The state­ment from a spokesper­son did not sin­gle out par­tic­u­lar sto­ries. But the warn­ing did come af­ter me­dia in­quiries about a McClatchy News story on Fri­day that said Mr. Mueller has ev­i­dence that Pres­i­dent Trump’s per­sonal at­tor­ney, Michael Co­hen, did in fact travel to Prague in 2016 as al­leged by the Christo­pher Steele dossier.

“What I have been telling all re­porters is that many sto­ries about our in­ves­ti­ga­tion have been in­ac­cu­rate,” the Mueller spokesper­son said. “Be very cau­tious about any source that claims to have knowl­edge about our in­ves­ti­ga­tion and dig deep into what they claim be­fore re­port­ing on it. If an­other out­let re­ports some­thing, don’t run with it un­less you have your own sourc­ing to back it up.”

The state­ment was re­ported by the Daily Caller and con­firmed by The Wash­ing­ton Times.

The McClatchy story on Fri­day lit up lib­eral me­dia out­lets since, if true, it would con­firm a ma­jor charge by the Bri­tish ex-spy. Mr. Steele wrote that Mr. Co­hen trav­eled se­cretly to Prague in Au­gust 2016 to meet Vladimir Putin aides to con­spire to cover up Rus­sian hack­ing of Demo­cratic Party com­put­ers. In other words: Trump-Rus­sia col­lu­sion.

There has been no of­fi­cial or press con­fir­ma­tion of Mr. Steele’s Prague al­le­ga­tion nor of a num­ber of other Steele col­lu­sion charges. His work was fi­nanced by the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee and the Hil­lary Clin­ton cam­paign.

For his part, Mr. Co­hen has re­peat­edly de­nied under oath, and thus under the penalty of per­jury, that he trav­eled to Prague. If he did in fact go there, he would be un­likely to lie under oath to Congress since the FBI’s in­ves­tiga­tive pow­ers would be able to track his move­ments.

Af­ter the McClatchy story, Mr. Co­hen tweeted on Satur­day, “Bad re­port­ing, bad in­for­ma­tion and bad story by same re­porter Peter Stone @McClatchyDC. No mat­ter how many times or ways they write it, I have never been to Prague. I was in LA with my son. Proven!”

Mr. Co­hen has pro­vided trip records to re­porters to show he was in Cal­i­for­nia for a time in Au­gust 2016 when Mr. Steele says the visit hap­pened. Mr. Co­hen has also dis­played his pass­port.

There have been no in­de­pen­dent me­dia re­ports that Mr. Mueller ac­quired Prague trip ev­i­dence out­side of the dossier it­self and an in­ter­view his peo­ple con­ducted with Mr. Steele.

An­other fac­tor that weighs against the Prague trip is that the spe­cial coun­sel has not asked Mr. Co­hen to pro­duce a wide ar­ray of doc­u­ments, ac­cord­ing to a U.S. gov­ern­ment fil­ing on Fri­day.

The fil­ing re­lates to a mat­ter ap­par­ently un­re­lated to Trump-Rus­sia: the FBI raided Mr. Co­hen’s of­fice and home on April 9 to search for ev­i­dence that he com­mit­ted crimes in his busi­ness deal­ings.

The fil­ing states that Mr. Mueller made a “nar­row” re­quest for doc­u­ments in his Rus­sia probe and that Mr. Co­hen had not yet com­plied.

It would seem that if Mr. Mueller ob­tained real ev­i­dence of a Prague trip he would have sub­poe­naed Mr. Co­hen’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions dur­ing the Au­gust 2016 time frame.

The sup­posed Co­hen Prague trip has been pushed to re­porters and gov­ern­ment in­ves­ti­ga­tors by Glenn Simp­son, co-founder of Fu­sion GPS, which paid Mr. Steele. Fu­sion has long-stand­ing re­la­tion­ships with Wash­ing­ton’s pow­er­ful news out­lets such as CNN, the Wash­ing­ton Post and the New York Times.

Mr. Simp­son still be­lieves Mr. Co­hen went to Prague. He told the House Per­ma­nent Se­lect Com­mit­tee on In­tel­li­gence that Mr. Co­hen may have trav­eled by yacht and a Rus­sian’s plane.

Mr. Co­hen has sued Fu­sion for li­bel.

The same McClatchy re­porters in Jan­uary au­thored an­other dis­puted story. It said the FBI is in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether mil­lions of dol­lars in il­le­gal Rus­sian funds ended up in the Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tions’ po­lit­i­cal ac­tion com­mit­tee (PAC). The NRA flatly de­nies this hap­pened.

The story said the money was sup­pos­edly fun­neled by a Rus­sian lawyer who is an NRA mem­ber and has ties to the Krem­lin. The story strongly im­plied that the il­le­gally hap­pened by show­ing that the NRA raised far more money in 2016 than it did in the 2012 pres­i­den­tial race.

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