It’s bad enough when you lie, but it really takes a special breed of liar to go out and demand an apology from those who (it now appears) told the truth.
Jonathan Chait, writing for New York Magazine:
From the beginning, the pushback against the dossier centered around one allegation. It claimed that Trump Organization lawyer Michael Cohen travelled to Prague in August to meet secretly with representatives of Russian intelligence. “The agenda,” Steele’s source alleged, “comprised questions on how deniable cash payments were to be made to hackers who had worked in Europe under Kremlin direction against the CLINTON campaign and various contingencies for covering up these operations and Moscow’s secret liaison with the TRUMP team more generally.” Cohen, Trump, and their mouthpieces all insisted Cohen had never visited Prague in his entire life. Their firm denial formed the foundation for the general skepticism with which mainstream news has treated Steele’s allegations.
Which brings us to one broadcast, January 11, 2017:
All right, today, President-elect Donald Trump took on the press after the so-called journalists at CNN and BuzzFeed exposed themselves to be nothing more than political hacks. They ran wild with unconfirmed and completely unfounded allegations that President-elect Donald Trump has been compromised by Russia and that they hold embarrassing personal and financial information about him.
… So during his press conference today, President-elect Trump — he took aim at CNN and BuzzFeed for covering an unverified story about Mr. Trump and his alleged ties to Russia. In the report posted on Buzzfeed, it claims that Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, met with Kremlin representatives in Prague in August of 2016. One small little itsy-bitsy problem. Michael Cohen has never been to Prague. Ever!
TRUMP: As far as BuzzFeed, which is a failing pile of garbage, writing it, I think they’re going to suffer the consequences. They already are. And as far as CNN going out of their way to build it up — and by the way, we just found out — I was coming down — Michael Cohen — I was (INAUDIBLE) Michael Cohen is a very talented lawyer, he’s a good lawyer in my firm. It was just reported that it wasn’t this Michael Cohen that we’re talking about. So all night long, it’s Michael Cohen.
I said, I want to see your passport. He brings his passport to my office. I say, Hey, wait a minute, he didn’t leave the country. He wasn’t out of the country. They had Michael Cohen of the Trump Organization was in Prague. It turned out to be a different Michael Cohen.
It’s a disgrace what took place. It’s a disgrace. And I think they ought to apologize, to start with, Michael Cohen.
COHEN: It’s not comfortable, but I’m OK with it personally because it benefits Mr. Trump and, I will do anything to protect Mr. Trump, the family, now Vice President-elect Pence, as well as the campaign. So I’m OK with it personally.
The problem is that it affected my family. It affected my wife, my in- laws, my children, and that’s not OK. And I believe CNN and Buzzfeed and others owe them a serious apology. You know, there’s an old expression. Where do you go to get your reputation back?
In between their guffaws and giggles, Sean Hannity and the then-still-unindicted Michael Cohen (whom, Hannity had failed to mention, was his own lawyer as well; Hannity introduces him as one of his “best friends”):
COHEN: Were you ever in Prague?
HANNITY: And your answer was?
HANNITY: In your whole life.
COHEN: I — no. I was — I’ve never been in Prague.
The full transcript of this entire disgraceful (and apparently wholly staged) performance is here.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.