- President Donald Trump on Saturday praised ABC News for suspending its reporter Brian Ross over an erroneous report on former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
- ABC News announced earlier that day that Ross was suspended without pay for four weeks.
President Donald Trump on Saturday night railed against suspended ABC News reporter Brian Ross’ inaccurate report on former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and said more media outlets should discipline reporters over “their Fake News!”
“Congratulations to @ABC News for suspending Brian Ross for his horrendously inaccurate and dishonest report on the Russia, Russia, Russia Witch Hunt,” he said on Twitter. “More Networks and ‘papers’ should do the same with their Fake News!”
ABC News announced Saturday it suspended Ross for four weeks without pay, after he reported in a live segment on Friday that Flynn intended to testify that President Donald Trump had “directed him to make contact with the Russians” when Trump was still a presidential candidate.
ABC News later issued a “clarification” that said Trump had, in fact, issued the directive to Flynn after he was elected president.
The network, which reported its story based in part on information received from one unnamed Flynn associate, said in its correction that Ross’ source later clarified that, “during the campaign, Trump assigned Flynn and a small circle of other senior advisers to find ways to repair relations with Russia and other hot spots.”
“It was shortly after the election that President-elect Trump directed Flynn to contact Russian officials,” the network’s correction said.
Ross’ initial report caused US stocks to tumble after it aired and made waves on social media. On Saturday, ABC News apologized for the error and announced Ross’ suspension.
“We deeply regret and apologize for the serious error we made yesterday. The reporting conveyed by Brian Ross during the special report had not been fully vetted through our editorial standards process,” the network said in a statement.
“It is vital we get the story right and retain the trust we have built with our audience – these are our core principles. We fell far short of that yesterday.”
Flynn pleaded guilty to one felony count of lying to the FBI as part of a deal with special counsel Robert Mueller, who is conducting the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion between members of Trump’s inner circle and Russian operatives. Flynn is expected to be a cooperating witness in Mueller’s case.
Bryan Logan contributed reporting.