MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The ABC broadcaster has suspended one of its top correspondents over an error in the report on former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and issued a correction on the story about US President Donald Trump's alleged demand for Flynn to find ways to contact Russian officials during the campaign.
"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… Effective immediately, Brian Ross will be suspended for four weeks without pay," the broadcaster said Saturday in its statement.
The original story, issued on Friday, claimed, citing a source, that Flynn was ready to testify that then-candidate Trump had asked him to contact Russian officials at the time of the campaign, while the correction suggested that the demand was made when Trump became president.
The source later reportedly clarified that during the campaign Flynn was asked to find ways to improve relations with Russia.
"It was shortly after the election, that President-elect Trump directed Flynn to contact Russian officials on topics that included working jointly against ISIS [Daesh terror group]," the broadcaster's statement read.
The story caught Trump's attention, with the US leader praising the ABC broadcaster's decision to suspend its reporter over "horrendously inaccurate and dishonest report."
Congratulations to @ABC News for suspending Brian Ross for his horrendously inaccurate and dishonest report on the Russia, Russia, Russia Witch Hunt. More Networks and “papers” should do the same with their Fake News!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 3 декабря 2017 г.
On Friday, Flynn admitted failure to disclose the full extent of his contacts with Moscow to the FBI. Under the plea agreement with the FBI, he agreed to fully cooperate with the investigation into the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election, however, has strongly denied accusations of treason.
Flynn is the fourth member of the Trump campaign to face charges in what has been dubbed a "witch hunt" by President Donald Trump, with former campaign manager Paul Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates placed under house arrest over charges on 12 counts, and former foreign policy adviser George Papadopolous, who had admitted lying to the FBI.