A personal lawyer for US President Donald Trump has sued the news website BuzzFeed over the publication of a salacious dossier alleging collusion between the Trump team and Russia.
"Just filed a defamation action against @BuzzFeedNews for publishing the lie filled document on @POTUS @realDonaldTrump and me!" Michael Cohen said in a Twitter post on Tuesday, calling the dossier "fake."
"Even though defendant BuzzFeed expressly acknowledged the unverified (and potentially unverifiable) nature of the dossier's allegations, defendant BuzzFeed published the un-redacted dossier and the article anyway — without attempting to determine the veracity of these reports with plaintiff himself," Cohen wrote in the lawsuit.
In turn, BuzzFeed has said it will fight the action in court.
The lawyer also told Bloomberg that he had filed another defamation suit against Fusion GPS, the intelligence firm behind the infamous document, in federal court.
The actions by BuzzFeed and Fusion GPS "are so malicious, despicable and reckless, one can only presume that their motives were intentional," he told CNN.
Cohen is one of Trump’s closest business advisers and closest supporters and it is unlikely that he was acting without the president’s approval, according to The Guardian.
Cohen’s move came after Dem. Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Tuesday released a full transcript from Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
The Trump-Russia dossier was first published by BuzzFeed a few days before his inauguration in January, 2017.
The document was written by former British spy Christopher Steele, who was hired by research firm Fusion GPS, which later turned out to have received funding from the Hillary Clinton campaign.
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.
In particular, the document alleged that the Russian government had compromising information on Trump, which has been denied by the US president and called a forgery by Moscow. Almost a year after its publication, the vast majority of the salacious claims contained within remain unverified.
Two separate investigations — dubbed a "witch hunt" by the US president — are currently being conducted by the US Senate and Special Counsel Robert Mueller into the Trump campaign's supposed "collusion" with Moscow, a claim that has been called "groundless" by the Kremlin.