ABC News reported on Friday that former national security advisor Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to FBI investigators in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.
ABC News also claimed that Flynn promised “full cooperation to the Mueller team” and that he is prepared to testify that then-candidate Donald Trump “directed him to make contact with the Russians.”
There is just one significant problem with ABC News’ report: CNN reported late on Friday that an “ABC News spokesperson” said that “‘World News’ will clarify that this should be president-elect Trump, not candidate Trump.”
ABC News spokesperson tells me that “World News” will clarify that this should be president-elect Trump, not candidate Trump. https://t.co/Xm0BuvAstj
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) December 1, 2017
“[A] clarification tonight on something one of Flynn’s confidants told us and we reported earlier today,” said ABC’s Brian Ross in his “clarification” Friday night. “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 world hot spots. And then after the election, the president-elect asked 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.