The controversy over former National Security Advisor Micheal Flynn lying to FBI over his contacts with Russian government has taken first casualty among media persons on Saturday. ABC News suspended its chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross for four weeks without pay for incorrectly reporting.
Ross had reported that Michael T. Flynn would testify that President Trump had directed him to make contact with Russian officials while Mr. Trump was still a candidate.
Meanwhile Brian Ross posted his reaction on twitter:
My job is to hold people accountable and that's why I agree with being held accountable myself.— Brian Ross (@BrianRoss) December 3, 2017
Mr. Trump directed Mr. Flynn to make contact after the election, as president-elect, the network said.
According to New York times, ABC initially issued a clarification after Mr. Ross made the statement during a live broadcast on Friday but later called it a correction.
The ABC statement issued on Saturday reads, “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.”
US President Donald Trump immediately congratulated ABC for taking action against Brian Ross.
Mr. Ross’s initial report would have been a bombshell revelation in the continuing investigation into whether Mr. Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia during 2016 election campaign.
ABC later clarified that Mr. Trump’s request to Mr. Flynn during the campaign had been to find ways to repair relations with Russia. The directive to contact Russian officials on several issues that includes working together against the IS came after the election.
“It is vital we get the story right and retain the trust we have built with our audience — these are our core principles,” the ABC statement said. “We fell far short of that yesterday.”
According to observers ABC action against its investigative journalist Brin Ross would give fresh ammunition to Mr. Trump and other conservatives who have been critical of news organizations: especially those who reported negatively on Trump administration.
Earlier Donald Trump reacted on Micheal Flynn’s plead guilty of speaking lie to FBI. In one of his twitter post he said, “I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI,” Trump wrote. “He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!”
Trump faced severe criticism by several social media users who questioned whether Trump knew Flynn had lied to the FBI when the President asked then FBI Director James Comey to close investigation info Flynn.