Deputy White House Press Secretary Hogan Gidley on Friday refused to deny that President Donald Trump directed his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about a secret Trump Tower Moscow deal they were pursuing during the 2016 campaign.
BuzzFeed News reported on Thursday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office “learned about Trump’s directive for Cohen to lie to Congress through interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents. Cohen then acknowledged those instructions during his interviews with that office.”
In appearance on Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, Gidley was given three chances to refute BuzzFeed’s reporting. Instead, he began his non-answer by attacking the media.
“So you’re saying the president did not tell Michael Cohen to do that?” host Bill Hemmer asked.
“I’m telling you right now this is exactly why the president refuses to give any credence or credibility to news outlets because they have no ability to corroborate anything they’re putting out there. They’re just using innuendo and shady sources.”
Hemmer pressed Gidley a second time: “That was not a denial of my question.”
Gidley continued, suggesting that Cohen’s testimony is untrustworthy.
“No, but the premise is ridiculous,” Gidley said, still offering no denial. “We’re also talking about a person in Michael Cohen, who quite frankly has now been proven to be a liar. He self-admits that he’s a felon. So to give him any credibility, it just doesn’t warrant any response from the White House or this president.”
Gidley was then asked by Sandra Smith if it was “true or false” that Trump reportedly instructed Cohen to lie to Congress.
“Right, but the president’s attorneys have already addressed this,” Gidley replied. “I’m not going to give any credence or credibility to Michael Cohen who’s a convicted felon and an admitted liar. That’s just ridiculous and I’m not going to do that from the White House.”
W.H. spokesman Hogan Gidley is asked by Fox News three times whether Trump told Michael Cohen to lie to Congress.
He does not answer all three times. Via Fox. pic.twitter.com/uS7bCJgBPP
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 18, 2019
Gidley’s opaque responses have a familiar ring. Remember this gem?
— Das (@Das_is_me) January 18, 2019
White House advisor Kellyanne Conway offered a similar deflection on Fox News earlier in the day. “The president weighed in on this on Twitter this morning, so I’ll refer you to that,” Conway said.
Kellyanne did something similar. No direct denial, just complaints about the sourcing.
So, yes, we know he did it. Let's keep this momentum in the Judiciary Committee and Intelligence Committee.
— Coretta (@elegantcoretta) January 18, 2019
He's taking lessons from Sarah and Kellyanne.. They all know how to hedge the truth.. Talk fast and ignore the question.
— pamela walker (@BluePeaceDove1) January 18, 2019
“Sounds like an answer to me.” pic.twitter.com/XuG8wOxtaR
— Sho'Nuff Skywalker (@BreakandEnterTV) January 18, 2019
This is very telling
— Robert Mueller Stan Account (Ace of Shades) (@Beymonce) January 18, 2019
Gidley is also grossly misrepresenting the nature of the BuzzFeed report.