Friday on ABC’s “World News Tonight,” network investigative journalist Brian Ross backtracked on his initial report insisting former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had assured “full cooperation” with special counsel Robert Mueller and was prepared to testify that “candidate” Donald Trump “directed him to make contact with the Russians.”
Ross told “World News” anchor David Muir it was not candidate Trump, but President-elect Trump that instructed him to reach out to Russia.
“A clarification tonight on something one of Flynn’s confidants told us, and we reported earlier today. He said the President had asked Flynn to contact Russia during the campaign. He’s now clarifying that saying according to Flynn, candidate Trump asked him during the campaign to find ways to repair relations with Russia and other hot spots, and then after the election, the President-elect asked him, told him to contact Russia on issues, including working together to fight ISIS.”
ABC’s mistake is a significant one. That it was president-elect Trump that allegedly instructed Flynn to contact the Russian ambassador and not candidate Trump changes the entire timeline of events and once again throws water on the idea that the Trump campaign colluded with Russian officials to sway the 2016 presidential election. There is nothing illegal about the Trump transition team contacting foreign officials to prepare the way for taking office.
CNN notes that ABC learned of its false claim at around 6 p.m. After initially tweeting out a “clarification,” the network was blasted online for its attempts to downplay the mistake. The network then deleted that tweet and tweeted out a “correction” with the same text.
CORRECTION of ABC News Special Report: Flynn prepared to testify that President-elect Donald Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians *during the transition* — initially as a way to work together to fight ISIS in Syria, confidant now says. https://t.co/ewrkVZTu2K pic.twitter.com/URLiHf3uSm
— ABC News (@ABC) December 2, 2017
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