The White House response to the allegation from BuzzFeed News that Donald Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress has been, shall we say, less than convincing.
If you missed it, BuzzFeed News reported on Thursday night that, after the 2016 election, Trump ordered Cohen, his then-lawyer, to lie about the details of his involvement in a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. (Cohen recently pleaded guilty to doing just that.)
The allegation that the president committed a straightforward and large crime is obviously a big deal, and it seems fair to say that the White House does not quite know what to do with it.
Witness, for instance, this weak attempt from Trump himself:
This claim by Trump is complicated by the fact that BuzzFeed itself has said Cohen was not a source for its story, but sure, you’re trying, buddy.
Then there’s this even more flailing attempt from White House spokesman Hogan Gidley, who couldn’t even turn a Fox News appearance to his advantage. Given repeated chances to deny that the BuzzFeed story was true, Gidley pointedly refused.
Now why would that be?
Update, 12:41 p.m. ET: It took them many, many, many hours, but here we go:
Again, BuzzFeed says that Cohen was not the source.
Update, 8:26 p.m. ET: Uh-oh.
BuzzFeed is standing by its story.