In a series of interviews with media outlets and in posts on Twitter, Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen denied explosive claims that appeared in a mysterious dossier posted online by Buzzfeed Tuesday night.
The dossier, reportedly compiled by a former British intelligence official working for a firm that received funding from Trump’s opponents, alleged that Cohen had served as a secret intermediary between Trump and the Russian government. Cohen denied specific characterizations of his family members that appear in the dossier, and that he had attended a meeting in August with representatives of the Kremlin.
“None of it is true,” Cohen told Yahoo News. “I don’t know who created the document or what it was supposed to be used for, but there’s absolutely no accuracy to anything in that document.
At Trump’s press conference on Wednesday, Republican National Committee communications director Sean Spicer said that Cohen’s passport showed that he did not leave the country in August or September. “There is no doubt that he was not in Prague,” Spicer said. “For all the talk lately about fake news, this is a political witch hunt.”
Cohen is one of Trump’s most staunch allies, a special counsel at The Trump Organization who has served for years as Trump’s attack dog in the media.
Cohen was one of a handful of close Trump associates who appeared in the secret profile, which was the subject of multiple press reports on Tuesday. The dossier’s allegations have not been substantiated. And Cohen has claimed that its allegations about him are bunk.
I have never been to Prague in my life. #fakenewspic.twitter.com/CMil9Rha3D— Michael Cohen (@MichaelCohen212) January 11, 2017
The dossier asserted that Cohen held a secret meeting with Kremlin representatives in Prague in August. But The Atlantic reported Tuesday night that Cohen denied ever having been in Prague in his life.
“I’m telling you emphatically that I’ve not been to Prague, I’ve never been to Czech [Republic], I’ve not been to Russia,” Cohen told the magazine.
CNN reported Wednesday morning that a different Michael Cohen had been in Prague in August.
The dossier also claimed that Cohen has a key role in Trump’s alleged “covert relationship” with Russia, describing Cohen’s wife as “of Russian descent” and his father-in-law as a “leading property developer in Moscow.” Yet Cohen told Yahoo News that his wife is Ukranian, not Russian, and said that he did not believe his father-in-law had ever traveled to Russia.
Josh Nathan-Kazis is a staff writer for the Forward. He covers charities and politics, and writes investigations and longform.