Trump blasts CNN over anonymous sourcing in Cohen report, hours after citing an anonymous source

President Donald Trump took aim Wednesday at CNN over information it reported last month that relied on anonymous sources, slamming all outlets that rely on such sources and labeling reports based on them “fiction made up by the Fake News reporters.”

Trump made specific reference to a CNN story published last month with the headline “Cohen claims Trump knew in advance of 2016 Trump Tower meeting,” a reference to a meeting between Trump campaign officials and a Russian attorney who had been billed as possessing damaging information about Hillary Clinton sourced from the Kremlin. That report attributed its information to unnamed “sources with knowledge.”

Lanny Davis, an attorney for Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer, has since told BuzzFeed that he was a source for the CNN article and has told The Washington Post that he is no longer sure about assertions he made to CNN and other outlets.

“The fact is that many anonymous sources don’t even exist. They are fiction made up by the Fake News reporters,” the president wrote on Twitter. “Look at the lie that Fake CNN is now in. They got caught red handed! Enemy of the People!”

“When you see ‘anonymous source,’ stop reading the story, it is fiction!” he added in a second post.

CNN, in a statement to BuzzFeed, said “we stand by our story, and are confident in our reporting of it.” The network said Davis was not the only source to confirm the information contained in the story. At the time of the report, CNN noted Cohen did not have evidence to back up his claim.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is deep into an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. The president has labeled Mueller’s probe a “witch hunt” and insists there was “no collusion.”

Davis made the rounds on the TV news circuit last week after Cohen pleaded guilty to eight federal charges, including campaign finance violations, in a Manhattan court. Cohen pleaded guilty to making hush money payments to two women “at the direction of” a candidate for federal office, Trump.

While Trump has long complained about news outlets’ use of anonymous sources, the practice is common and accepted at news organizations across the country. Government officials, including at the White House, often ask to be quoted “on background,” meaning not by name, in order to speak candidly and protect their jobs and personal relationships.



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