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May 23, 2016

Mad Men fans probably won't ever know for sure if Don Draper was really the fictional mastermind behind Coca-Cola's iconic 1971 "Hilltop" commercial, but one lucky — and wealthy — enthusiast will be able to drive the infamous ad man's convertible, if that's any consolation.

LionsGate Television is putting the 1964 Imperial Crown Chrysler, along with some of the show's other sweet-looking props, up for auction on ScreenBid, The New York Times reports.

Bidding is set to open June 1 on Peggy Olson's typewriter, Megan Draper's lavender mules, and the rest of the goods, but don't expect a bargain — Walter White's (or should we say Gale Boetticher's?) copy of Leaves of Grass went for $65,500 in ScreenBid's Breaking Bad auction back in 2013. Julie Kliegman

1:11 p.m.

President Trump's team is finally denying that he directed his former attorney to lie to Congress — about 14 hours after the allegation was first reported.

The president's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said in a statement Friday, "Any suggestion — from any source — that the president counseled Michael Cohen to lie is categorically false." Giuliani goes on to call Cohen a "criminal and a liar" and suggests he can not be trusted.

Giuliani had previously released a statement questioning Cohen's credibility, but this is the first time he has directly denied the allegations in the BuzzFeed News article and said they're false regardless of who is making them. Two White House officials had discussed the story on Fox Friday morning, first White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley and then White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway, but neither of them would actually call the story false.

Although Giuliani has been criticizing Cohen in the aftermath of this bombshell report, Cohen himself wasn't actually a source for the story; BuzzFeed notes that he declined to comment. Instead, the news outlet cites two law enforcement officials, who said that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has spoken to multiple witnesses and has evidence that Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress and had it before Cohen even began to cooperate with him. Anthony Cormier, one of the reporters behind the story, said Friday that the suggestion that Cohen fed them the information is "f---ing bulls--t." Brendan Morrow

11:34 a.m.

A White House spokesperson on Friday refused to say whether President Trump directed his attorney to lie to Congress.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley told Fox News Friday it's "ludicrous" that a news outlet like BuzzFeed News is being taken seriously, with the term "news outlet" placed in air quotes. He argued that BuzzFeed's report, which contained the bombshell allegations, is uncorroborated and that the publication can't be trusted ever since it published the Steele dossier.

But strangely, when Fox News repeatedly asked Gidley to say whether the allegations in the story are true, he wouldn't directly answer. "So you're saying the president did not tell Michael Cohen to do that?" Bill Hemmer asked. Gidley dodged, just saying, "I'm telling you right now this is exactly why the president refuses to give any credence or credibility to news outlets because they have no ability to corroborate anything they put out there."

Hemmer quickly pointed out that "that was not a denial." Shortly after, Gidley was asked directly about the allegation, "Is that true or false?" Once again, Gidley wouldn't answer this very basic yes or no question. "I'm not going to give any credence or credibility to Michael Cohen, who's a convicted felon and an admitted liar," he said.

BuzzFeed's story cited two law enforcement officials as saying Special Counsel Robert Mueller had evidence that Trump instructed Cohen to lie to Congress. Trump on Twitter similarly criticized Cohen, though he was not a BuzzFeed source, writing that he is "lying to reduce his jail time!" Watch the bizarre Gidley interview below. Brendan Morrow

10:58 a.m.

Vice President Mike Pence is offended that you're offended.

Earlier this week, Pence's wife Karen Pence took a job at a Christian elementary school that explicitly bans "homosexual activity." And when detractors starting calling her out, Pence sat down with a Christian TV network Thursday to say their criticism was "deeply offensive."

News broke Tuesday that the second lady had taken a job at Immanuel Christian Elementary School in northern Virginia. She'll be teaching art twice a week to students whose parents have signed an "essentials of the faith" pledge that outlines just how they'll be educated. The 3-page document describes a swath of Christian values, mandating parents "regularly pray for the needs of my school, my child's teachers, the school administration, and school board." It also says the school can refuse admission to a student or expel them if they or someone in their home are found "participating in" or "supporting ... homosexual activity or bi-sexual activity."

Naturally, news organizations took note and LGBT activists craftily retaliated. But Pence said this reporting from "major news organizations" was proof they were "attacking Christian education," he said on the religious Eternal World Television Network. That's "deeply offensive to us," Pence added, but said he and Karen would "let the other critics roll off our back" and called for the end of "this criticism of Christian education in America."

Read more about the controversy at The Washington Post, or watch Pence's comments on EWTN below. Kathryn Krawczyk

10:41 a.m.

The bombshell BuzzFeed News story suggesting President Trump directed his attorney to lie to Congress barely got any coverage on Fox News Friday morning — other than when a Trump ally came on to dismiss the source.

Former congressman Newt Gingrich laughed through a Fox & Friends interview, dismissing BuzzFeed as the "equivalent of those tabloids you buy at the grocery store on the way out that introduce you to Martians and tell you the story of three stars who had anguished lives that you never knew about."

Gingrich also said that the allegations in the story could not possibly be true because Trump would not be "dumb enough" to lie to Congress.

The Fox & Friends hosts themselves didn't really talk about the story much. As Media Matters' Bobby Lewis points out, the story didn't even get mentioned until more than 40 minutes into the show. It came up as part of a brief news report, which was framed entirely around Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani's response. Giuliani had questioned the report's accuracy by suggesting Michael Cohen shouldn't be believed, even though Cohen wasn't actually the story's source.

During their interview with Gingrich, though, the hosts certainly didn't sound like they were giving the story much credence, with Steve Doocy asking "who are these law enforcement officials" quoted in the story. Doocy also emphasized that the reporter "never actually saw with his own two eyes ... that material." Watch a portion of the Gingrich interview below. Brendan Morrow

10:18 a.m.

Another election, another DNC hack?

The Democratic National Committee is piling onto its ongoing lawsuit against President Trump's 2016 campaign, Russia, and others, saying it was the intended victim of yet another cyberattack. Hackers — likely Russian ones — unsuccessfully tried to infiltrate DNC email addresses just days after the 2018 midterms, ABC News reports via court documents filed late Thursday night.

The DNC first faced a major hack in the summer of 2016 when thousands of its emails were posted on WikiLeaks by an alleged Russian agent. As the 2018 midterms approached, the threat of Russian interference and any hacking at all actually appeared pretty minimal, but this new court filing suggests those previous assumptions may not quite be true.

In Thursday's filing, the DNC alleged that "on Nov. 14, 2018, dozens of DNC email addresses were targeted in a spear-phishing campaign." The campaign didn't appear successful, the filing said. But the timing of the attack and the methods used resemble the work of a Russian hacking group alleged to have conducted the 2016 hack, the DNC claims, leading it to say "it is probable that Russian intelligence again attempted to unlawfully infiltrate DNC computers in November 2018."

These allegations add to the heap the DNC has already levied against the Trump campaign, its former chair Paul Manafort, Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange, and the entire Russian federation, among many others. Read more about the new accusations at ABC News. Kathryn Krawczyk

9:39 a.m.

One of the reporters who broke the bombshell story suggesting President Trump directed his attorney to lie to Congress says he hasn't directly seen the hard evidence, but he's still completely confident the story is correct.

BuzzFeed News' Anthony Cormier spoke with CNN about the article he worked on with Jason Leopold, which set off a firestorm and which the House Intelligence Committee says it will investigate. Some have expressed skepticism about the report, so CNN asked Cormier if he has directly seen evidence that Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress, i.e. the emails, texts, and other documents mentioned in the story.

"No, I have not seen it personally," Cormier said while adding that the two law enforcement officials mentioned in the report are "fully 100 percent read in to that aspect of the special counsel's investigation." Cormier said his sources began to compile evidence that Trump suborned perjury even before Cohen started to cooperate with Robert Mueller, and "it's our understanding that this is rock solid information developed over the course of a long period of time."

Later in the interview, when CNN's Alisyn Camerota asked Cormier how he can be certain about the report, he confidently replied, "I am rock solid. My sourcing on this goes beyond the two that are on the record. This 100 percent happened. I am the individual who confirmed and verified that it happened." He added, "we've been able to verify this in other ways."

Watch a portion of CNN's interview with Cormier below. Brendan Morrow

9:17 a.m.

A new report from BuzzFeed News suggesting President Trump directed his former attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress set off a firestorm in Democratic circles and sparked some to call for Trump's swift impeachment. But many conservatives are urging caution, saying the allegations should be treated with skepticism.

Conservative Erick Erickson pointed to a few reasons he's taking the allegations with a grain of salt. First of all, the BuzzFeed story claims Special Counsel Robert Mueller learned that Trump directed Cohen to lie, in part, by speaking with members of the Trump Organization. But, Erickson points out, ABC's John Santucci says his reporting on the matter has not turned up any members of the Trump Organization who say they've been interviewed by Mueller's team.

Other conservatives seem suspicious because this new information was not mentioned in Cohen's plea deal. The Daily Wire's Ryan Saavedra dismissed the report, pointing to other Russia-related stories he says were not subsequently corroborated:

The Washington Examiner's Byron York summarizes what seems to lie ahead, writing: "Looks like we're in another 'big if true' cycle of the Trump-Russia matter."

"If this story is correct, it's both inexcusable behavior and a full-scale disaster for Trump," The Daily Wire's Ben Shapiro tweeted. Conservative blogger Allahpundit put the whole thing in pretty simple black-and-white terms, saying: "Either Trump's finished or BuzzFeed's credibility is."

Read the entire report at BuzzFeed News. Brendan Morrow

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