Lanny Davis - the attorney for Michael Cohen, has massively backpedaled on "confident assertions" that Cohen would share information with investigators that President Trump knew of Russian efforts to undermine Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton - a lifelong friend of Davis'.
The Washington Post reported on Sunday that Davis said in an interview that he is "no longer certain about claims he made to reporters on background and on the record in recent weeks about what Cohen knows about Trump's awareness of the Russian efforts."
Davis told The Washington Post that he cannot confirm media reports that Cohen is prepared to tell special counsel Robert S. Mueller III that Trump had advance knowledge of the 2016 Trump Tower meeting -WaPo
CNN reported in July that Cohen claimed to have witnessed Trump approving the meeting between Trump Jr. and Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya, arranged by an associate of opposition research firm Fusion GPS.
The day after CNN's report, the Washington Post - using an "anonymous source" they now admit was Davis, peddled the same story that "Cohen had told associates that he witnessed an exchange in which Trump Jr. told his father about an upcoming gathering in which he expected to get information about Clinton," however the Post didn't say Trump Jr. told Sr. it was the Russians.
“I should have been more clear — including with you — that I could not independently confirm what happened,” Davis said, adding perhaps the most difficult four words for an attorney to utter: "I regret my error."
In the past week, when asked directly by CNN’s Anderson Cooper whether there was information that Trump knew about his son’s meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya beforehand, Davis said, “No, there’s not.”
In a statement Saturday, a CNN spokeswoman said, “We stand by our story, and are confident in our reporting of it.” -WaPo
1. CNN reports Cohen has info on POTUS having advanced knowledge of Trump tower meeting.— Andrew Surabian (@Surabees) August 26, 2018
2. @jonathanvswan reports Cohen told House Committee he had no such info.
3. Cohen's lawyer confirms Swan's reporting.
4. CNN refuses to correct their "reporting"
5. @brianstelter silent.
The Post also notes that people familiar with Cohen's Congressional testimony said that despite being "interviewed extensively," Cohen never said anything to suggest that Trump had advanced knowledge of the meeting, while "Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), leaders of the Senate committee, said in recent days that Cohen had sent word to the committee that he had no desire to amend that testimony."
On Saturday, President Trump tweeted about Davis's stunning 180 on the Cohen claims, writing: "Michaels Cohen’s attorney clarified the record, saying his client does not know if President Trump knew about the Trump Tower meeting (out of which came nothing!). The answer is that I did NOT know about the meeting. Just another phony story by the Fake News Media!"
Michaels Cohen’s attorney clarified the record, saying his client does not know if President Trump knew about the Trump Tower meeting (out of which came nothing!). The answer is that I did NOT know about the meeting. Just another phony story by the Fake News Media!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 25, 2018
Backpedaling on hacking
Davis also walked back an idea he widely circulated after Cohen's guilty plea that Trump knew about Russian hacking of Democratic emails in advance - which he has mentioned numerous times in recent interviews, "repeatedly touting his client's potential value to Mueller."
"I believe that Mr. Cohen has direct knowledge that would be of interest to Mr. Mueller that suggests — I’m not sure it proves — that Mr. Trump was aware of Russian government agents hacking illegally, committing computer crimes, to the detriment of the candidate who he was running against, Hillary Clinton," Davis said in a Wednesday interview with PBS NewsHour.
Four days later and Davis is taking it all back.
asked Saturday how confident he was that Trump knew about the hacking before it became public, Davis said: “I am not sure. There’s a possibility that is the case. But I am not sure.”
Davis said that in discussing the hacking allegations last week, he should have emphasized his lack of certainty. He said he raised the idea that Cohen might have information about Trump’s knowledge because he had a strong feeling that might be the case. -WaPo
"I was giving an instinct that he might have something to say of interest to the special counsel” about hacking, Davis said. In retrospect, he said, “I am just not sure."
We wonder how many people donated to Cohen's "GoFundMe" campaign assuming he had the goods?
We wonder if Podesta ever let Davis crisis manage Hillary Clinton's email scandal?
"On my honor I give you my word I will not mention to anyone my involvement. " -- Michael Cohen lawyer Lanny J Davis to Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta https://t.co/8pydGMaYer pic.twitter.com/i7pfYdJbxL— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 24, 2018