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Michael Cohen, Donald Trump's personal attorney, files lawsuit against Fusion GPS, BuzzFeed

13 January 2018, 03:26 | Marlene Myers

Glenn R. Simpson co-founder of Fusion GPS

Glenn R. Simpson co-founder of Fusion GPS

The longtime personal lawyer for U.S. President Donald Trump has filed a defamation lawsuit against BuzzFeed for publishing an unverified dossier of allegations about Trump's presidential campaign and Russian Federation.

Cohen also filed a separate suit against Fusion GPS, the research firm that was behind the document.

At the time it published the crackpot rumors, BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith confessed: "There is serious reason to doubt the allegations".

Trump is referring to an opposition research document that was compiled on him during the election, and it includes unverified allegations that the Russian government has compromising personal and financial information about the President. Most ot08her US news organizations declined to publish the document because many of its claims - some of them salacious - haven't been substantiated. "My name was included only because of my proximity to the president".

Cohen, who is named in the dossier, says BuzzFeed and several of its staffers defamed him by publishing the 35-page document. The lawsuit was filed in New York State Supreme Court. "Why waste time talking about something that's not legitimate", he said.

BuzzFeed responded with a Twitter post saying the dossier continues to be the subject of investigations by Congress and intelligence agencies, was shown to two U.S. presidents and described in detail by news outlets worldwide. It was presented to two successive presidents, and has been described in detail by news outlets around the world.

BuzzFeed responded to Michael Cohen's lawsuit by saying it published the unredacted, tabloid-ish dossier because "its interest to the public is obvious".

However, as Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee revealed, the Steele dossier was not the reason behind the FBI investigation.

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The lawsuits were not immediately available on online court resources.

BuzzFeed chose to publish its copy of the Steele memos shortly after CNN reported that USA intelligence officials had briefed then-Presiden-Elect Trump on allegations in the dossier on January 6, 2017. Cohen testified to the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors on October 24 and publicly to the Senate Intelligence Committee on October 25. John McCain, R-Ariz., who gave it to then-FBI Director James Comey.

Gaetz said he also wants to know if the Federal Bureau of Investigation brought the dossier to a FISA court to obtain clearance for surveillance on members of the Trump campaign. This marks a change from his statement past year when he said he would be willing to talk to Mueller under oath. His legal team is preparing for a potential interview with the special counsel and is in preliminary discussions with Mueller's office about the parameters of such a discussion, a person familiar with the matter said Tuesday.

"H$3 ow could somebody go through so many bankruptcies, you know, and still have a billion dollars in personal assets" was one question Simpson said Fusion GPS was trying to answer.

Fusion GPS hired former British spy Christopher Steele to look into Trump's real-estate activities in Russia in a bid to tie Trump to Russian operatives. The law firm for Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee picked up the tab once Trump became the clear favorite to win the nomination.

Its existence - well known in journalistic circles before it was published a year ago - added credence to allegations that the Trump campaign was working with the Kremlin to secure victory in the 2016 election.

The infamous Russian Federation dossier was not the sole basis for the FBI's investigation into Donald Trump's ties to Russian Federation, according to a newly public document that notched a tactical win for Democrats inside Washington, D.C.



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