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Yesterday ABC reported candidate Trump told Mike Flynn to collude with Russia; Today? Oh, gosh, never mind . . .
Incompetence and malfeasance all wrapped together.
Trump-haters were awfully excited yesterday when the Mike Flynn guilty plea for lying to the FBI was announced. But nothing excited them more than a report from ABC News's Brian Ross, who claimed Flynn would testify he'd been ordered by candidate Trump - before the election - to contact the Russians. If true, it would be the first real indication that something might have happened that could amount to election collusion with Moscow.
Two problems: 1. Every other media outlet was reporting that Trump or one of his top deputies ordered the contact after the election, which would be no big deal, so ABC was an outlier in its take on the story. 2. The reporter was Brian Ross, who has a history of getting big splashy scoops spectacularly wrong.
OK, three problems. 3. Ross was wrong, and was forced hours later to admit it:
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
Ross's initial report was treated like a bombshell, and it caused the Dow to tank on Friday to the tune of 400 points. For some people, that will amount to real cash losses they will never get back.
And it was totally false. Even CNN took ABC to task for leaving the report hanging out there all day when they surely knew Ross got it wrong. Then, when ABC finally did something, they tried to weasel out of their mistake by calling it a "clarification" before finally issuing the all-caps CORRECTION you see above.
If Trump or, as it now appears, Jared Kushner, told Flynn to talk to the Russians during the transition about sanction retaliation or a UN vote on Israel, that is a non-story. The fact that Flynn lied to the FBI about it suggests he was very sensitive about his contacts with Russia because of the Russia hysteria that characterized the political environment at the time.
But he didn't commit a crime by talking to Russia, and no one in the incoming administration did anything wrong by telling him to.
Yet for much of yesterday, a lot of people thought the "collusion with Russia" narrative had its first real bit of legitimacy because Brian Ross and ABC were recklessly irresponsible and took the entire day to get around to admitting it.
And yes, this is why the fake news label gets hung around the necks of the MSM. Because they so often earn it with crap like this.
Dan's new novel, BACKSTOP, is a story of spiritual warfare and baseball. Download it from Amazon here!