This was months in the making.
Michael Cohen, one of President Donald Trump’s personal lawyers, filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against research firm Fusion GPS for producing the infamous Steele dossier last year that alleged the Trump campaign had ties to Russia. Cohen also filed a lawsuit against BuzzFeed News for publishing the entire dossier in January 2017.
The dossier, which was paid for in part by a lawyer for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, is a collection of 17 intelligence reports written by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele. The reports present a number of unverified allegations about Trump and his campaign’s ties to Russia.
The dossier paints Cohen as a key player in the Russia-Trump relationship, and includes (again, unverified) claims that Cohen met with Russian officials in Prague in August 2016 to discuss how to pay Kremlin-linked hackers for targeting Hillary Clinton during the election.
In his lawsuits, Cohen alleges that the Steele dossier was full of “false and defamatory” claims that caused “harm to his personal and professional reputation, current business interests, and the impairment of business opportunities.”
The lawsuits are the latest move in a coordinated campaign by conservatives in and out of government against special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted his oft-repeated line that the Russia probe is “The single greatest Witch Hunt in American history.” Trump, however, has yet to sue anyone involved in releasing information about his potential Kremlin connections.
BuzzFeed News says it plans to fight Cohen’s charges. “The dossier is, and continues to be, the subject of active investigations by Congress and intelligence agencies,” Matt Mittenthal, BuzzFeed News’s spokesperson, wrote to me in an email. “It was presented to two successive presidents, and has been described in detail by news outlets around the world. Its interest to the Read More Here