NPR falsely claimed on Friday that Donald Trump, Jr., lied to the Senate Judiciary Committee in September 2017 compared to a story told by a former Trump attorney.
On November 30, National Public Radio… yes the very NPR that takes our tax dollars… posted the following lie:
Trump Jr. told the Senate Judiciary Committee in September 2017 that although there had been negotiations surrounding a prospective Trump Tower in Moscow, they concluded without result ‘at the end’ of 2014.
‘Certainly not ’16,’ he said. ‘There was never a definitive end to it. It just died of deal fatigue.’
Trump’s account contrasts with the new version of events given by Cohen on Thursday in a guilty plea in federal court. In that new version, Cohen says the discussions with at least one Russian government official and others in Moscow continued through June 2016, well into Trump’s presidential campaign.
But, as The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway notes, NPR flubbed it:
In fact, Senate investigators were asking Trump Jr. about a series of efforts to develop property in Russia, going back several years. Reporter Phil Ewing (reporter Tim Mak contributed to the story) conflates one of those efforts with another separate effort. That conflation results in the false news report.
A full 100 pages before the portion Ewing quotes, Trump Jr. explicitly contradicts NPR’s false claim when he gives a clear answer to the following question:
That question was:
Q. It’s been reported that in late 2015 or 2016 when now President Trump was running for office the Trump Organization was pursuing a plan to develop a massive Trump Tower in Moscow. Is that accurate?
Indeed, Trump, Jr., admitted that there was some aborted effort by others to develop a Trump property in Moscow.
Contrary to what NPR “reported,” there was no contradictory testimony at all.
NPR left the story up for quite a while, despite everyone showing them the error of their ways.
Finally late in the day, NPR appended an editor’s note to the top of the story:
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this report mischaracterized an answer Donald Trump Jr. gave to Senate investigators in 2017 about the prospective projects his family was negotiating with people in Moscow.
The story reported that Trump Jr.’s response — that negotiations on one project concluded by the end of 2014 — contrasted with the version of events as laid out in the guilty plea by Michael Cohen on Thursday. In fact, Trump Jr. and investigators were alluding to a different set of negotiations — not to a deal that Cohen was reportedly pursuing. Trump Jr. did acknowledge in his testimony that Cohen and another man were exploring a possible deal in Moscow in 2015 or 2016.
Trump Jr. did not address what Cohen has now admitted — that talks about such a deal continued at least into June 2016, longer than previously known and well into the presidential campaign.
See, it was all juuuust a mistake.
Sure it was.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.