Michael Cohen posted on Twitter on Tuesday night: “Enough is enough of the #fake #RussianDossier. Just filed a defamation action against @BuzzFeedNews for publishing the lie filled document on @POTUS @realDonaldTrump and me!”
Cohen told Bloomberg News he had also filed a second defamation suit against political intelligence firm Fusion GPS, which compiled the dossier, in federal court.
Cohen is one of Trump’s closest business advisers and most loyal confidantes and it seems improbable that he was acting without the president’s blessing. His move came hours after Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate judiciary committee, unilaterally released a transcript of testimony from Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson.
BuzzFeed vowed to fight the action in court.
The publication of the 35-page dossier in January 2017 triggered a political storm and debate over media ethics. The raw research by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele suggested the Russian government had both compromised and colluded with Trump during the 2016 presidential election, and included lurid allegations.
Steele also recorded claims that Cohen had held secret meetings with Russian officials in Prague in August 2016, where he allegedly discussed how to pay Kremlin-associated hackers for targeting Hillary Clinton.
Cohen told Bloomberg that he was mentioned in the dossier 15 times. “It will be proven that I had no involvement in this Russian collusion conspiracy,” he said. “My name was included only because of my proximity to the president.”
In an interview with ABC News, he added: “I want to be very clear. I have never been to Prague or the Czech Republic, and I have never engaged with, been paid by, paid for, or communicated with anyone representing the Russian Federation or anyone else to hack anyone or any organisation or disseminate false news reports or interfere in any way with this election.”