ABC News issued a correction Friday on a report published earlier in the day that stated former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was instructed by President Trump to contact Russians while Trump was still a candidate.
Instead, the "clarification," later changed to a "correction," noted that Trump's request came after the election – a significant detail as Trump would have been transitioning from campaign mode to preparing for the start of his administration, but still might put Flynn in danger of violating the 1799 Logan Act because he was a private citizen at the time.
“A clarification tonight on something one of Flynn’s confidants told us and we reported earlier today,” Brian Ross said during ABC News’ “World News Tonight” on Friday. “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.”
Earlier in the day, Ross had said on ABC News’ “Special Report” that a Flynn confidant had revealed “[Flynn] is prepared to testify that President Trump, as a candidate … ordered him, directed him to make contact with the Russians.”
The impact of the initial report was significant as several news outlets, including the Washington Examiner, attributed ABC News' reporting in writeups of their own. Also after the report was published in the morning, the Dow plummeted 350 points, but later recovered. The Dow closed at 4 p.m. at only 41 points lower than when it opened.
The video clip, which was shared by ABC News in a tweet, received over 26,000 retweets and 35,000 likes, as of Friday evening.
ABC News deleted the original video clip from their Twitter account when it issued the “clarification."
CLARIFICATION 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/ewrkVZBTbc pic.twitter.com/GQAKwT1Eda ABC News (@ABC) December 2, 2017
ABC News later changed that "clarification" to a "correction" amid the ensuing backlash.
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
Flynn pleaded guilty on Friday in a federal court in Washington for lying to the FBI in January about his contacts with the Russian ambassador. Flynn was charged on one count of “willfully and knowingly” making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” to the FBI about communications exchanged with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak shortly after Trump took office. Flynn said he is cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller.
Flynn was removed from his post at the White House earlier this year after it was revealed he misled the administration about his sanctions-related communications with the Russians.