Michael Cohen, the other Michael Cohen - and the Trump-Russia storm


One of the central accusations in the 35-page unverified report, compiled by a British former intelligence agent and published by Buzzfeed yesterday, was that Donald Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, was working covertly with Russia on behalf of the president-elect.

For proof of Mr Cohen’s Kremlin connections, the report cited an alleged August meeting in Prague between Mr Cohen and Russian representatives. It turns out there was a Michael Cohen in Prague that day; it was just a different Michael Cohen.

Immediately following the release of the report, the Michael D. Cohen – Mr Trump’s lawyer - labelled the story “fake news”.

Mr Cohen, who was raised Jewish in Long Island, New York, explained he had never visited the Czech Republic or Russia and even flashed his passport as proof.

CNN’s Jake Tapper later verified Mr Cohen’s claim and reported that it was a different Michael Cohen who visited had Prague.

The identity of the Michael Cohen in the report remains unknown. Michael was the most popular name in the US in the twentieth century, including in 1966 when the report’s Mr Cohen was allegedly born. The surname Cohen, meanwhile, is one of the most common Jewish surnames in the world.

Other Michael Cohens came out of the woodwork to deny they were the Michael Cohen in question. Boston Globe columnist and noted Trump-hater, Michael A. Cohen, tweeted yesterday “I want to make clear ... it's the other Michael Cohen”. 

Mr Trump echoed his lawyer’s sentiments in a series of tweets yesterday by calling the story “fake news”. He then repeated the accusation at a press conference yesterday and promised that there will be “consequences” for Buzzfeed.

Buzzfeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith defended his decision to publish the unverified report as the “absolutely, right thing to do” and explained that Buzzfeed always errs “on the side of publishing”.

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