In a New York Times op-ed posted Tuesday night just as word broke that Trump attorney Michael Cohen had filed a defamation suit against BuzzFeed over the story, Smith declared that he was "proud we published the Trump-Russia dossier". "My name was included only because of my proximity to the president". It was presented to two successive presidents, and has been described in detail by news outlets around the world.
Cohen said he told the panels that he never engaged with, was paid by, or communicated with anyone representing the Russian government, or anyone else, about hacking or interfering with the USA election, hacking the Democratic Party, or about creating fake news stories to assist the Trump campaign or to damage the Hillary Clinton campaign.
He said at the time BuzzFeed published the dossier on January 10, 2017, they knew it had been written by Christopher Steele, the former head of the Russian Federation desk for British intelligence, and that then-Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) had "acted" on its contents. "Its interest to the public is obvious", Buzzfeed spokesman Matt Mittenthal said in a statement.
As the seriousness of the Russian Federation investigation has become clearer, the pro-Trump line has shifted from dismissing the dossier to stressing its role in the investigation: The dossier, some of Mr. Trump's defenders now say, played too big a part, given that a portion of Mr. Steele's funding came from political enemies of Mr. Trump, including the Democratic National Committee.
Buzzfeed has publicly affirmed its decision to publish the material, claiming it to be clearly within the public interest and looks forward to defend its decision to do so on First Amendment freedom of press grounds.
"The Supreme Court has made it clear that when it comes to media-related publications on public figures, they are generally immune from defamation lawsuits unless they actually acted with malice".
Matt Mittenthal Verified account @mattmittenthal
Josh Levy, a lawyer for Fusion, declined comment Wednesday morning. Cohen said he has never been to Prague and his passport shows no visits to the Czech Republic.
The 312-page report recently released by Senator Dianne Feinstein includes the transcript of Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson's August interview, which was part of the Senate Judiciary Committee's investigation into alleged Russian meddling.
Fusion GPS was originally hired to do research during the 2016 Republican primary campaign for a still unknown Republican donor who wanted to defeat Trump.
As special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation continues to drag on and vocal celebrities like film director Rob Reiner continue to insist there is a tie with Russian Federation yet to be unearthed, Trump attorney Michael Cohen says he has reached his limit.
Last week another attorney working for Trump personally, Charles Harder, sent a cease and desist letter to the publisher and author of the new book "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House", seeking to stop further distribution.