Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Utah Delegation Treads Carefully After Stunning BuzzFeed Report On Trump, Moscow Deal

Julia Ritchey

Members of Utah’s federal delegation walked on proverbial eggshells on Friday after an explosive report from BuzzFeed News alleged President Donald Trump instructed his personal attorney Michael Cohen to mislead Congress over a real estate deal in Moscow.

The report, published Thursday night, elicited a rare response from Special Counsel Robert Mueller disputing the accuracy of certain descriptions in the report.

“BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate,” said Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller.

It was a development Trump immediately seized on, retweeting an account calling BuzzFeed’s story “FAKE NEWS!”

In an email late Friday, a spokesperson for Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said it is important for Mueller to complete his investigation into possible collusion between Russia and Trump’s presidential campaign before commenting.

It was a sentiment echoed by Sen. Mike Lee and other members of Utah’s congressional delegation.

While some Democrats in Congress pledged to investigate the new allegations, Rep. Ben McAdams, Utah’s sole House Democrat, said he will await a final report from Mueller before passing judgment.

“Investigations into these serious allegations need to proceed without interference,” he said in a statement. “I want to gather all the facts, knowing that it’s part of the job of Congress to be a check on the Executive Branch. People who serve in government should act with honesty and integrity and uphold the public trust.”

Meanwhile, Republican Rep. Chris Stewart questioned the two federal law enforcement sources granted anonymity in BuzzFeed’s reporting.

“There’s no doubt that this is an alarming headline. However, the sources are anonymous,” said Stewart, adding he looks forward to hearing Cohen’s testimony before the Intelligence Committee he sits on in the coming weeks.

“Headlines like these highlight the necessity of the Mueller investigation and a report that the public can review,” said Stewart.

Emails seeking comment from Rep. John Curtis and Rep. Rob Bishop were not immediately returned.


Julia joined KUER in 2016 after a year reporting at the NPR member station in Reno, Nev. During her stint, she covered battleground politics, school overcrowding, and any story that would take her to the crystal blue shores of Lake Tahoe. Her work earned her two regional Edward R. Murrow awards. Originally from the mountains of Western North Carolina, Julia graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2008 with a degree in journalism. She’s worked as both a print and radio reporter in several states and several countries — from the 2008 Beijing Olympics to Dakar, Senegal. Her curiosity about the American West led her to take a spontaneous, one-way road trip to the Great Basin, where she intends to continue preaching the gospel of community journalism, public radio and podcasting. In her spare time, you’ll find her hanging with her beagle Bodhi, taking pictures of her food and watching Patrick Swayze movies.
KUER is listener-supported public radio. Support this work by making a donation today.