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Posted: December 03, 2017

ABC News suspends Brian Ross after correcting report about Michael Flynn, Trump

FILE PHOTO: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump (L) speaks during a campaign event September 6, 2016 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Trump participated in a discussion with retired Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn (R).  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty Images
FILE PHOTO: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump (L) speaks during a campaign event September 6, 2016 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Trump participated in a discussion with retired Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn (R). (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

By Jared Leone, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Dec. 2, 2017 9:30 p.m.: President Donald Trump took to Twitter to comment on ABC News' decision to suspend reporter Brian Ross for what the network is now calling a "serious error" in its story on former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. 

Initially, the network reported that Flynn was prepared to testify that then-candidate Donald Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians during Trump's presidential campaign. ABC clarified Friday evening that a source said Flynn will testify that Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians during the administration transition as president-elect – not during the campaign – about working together to fight ISIS. ABC News later issued a correction and suspended Ross for four weeks.

Trump wrote Saturday night: "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!"

>> See the tweet here

Dec. 2, 2017 7:15 p.m.: ABC News has suspended a reporter for errors in his story on former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Brian Ross was suspended four weeks without pay Saturday, the media group said.

Dec. 1, 2017 10:45 p.m.: ABC News is clarifying a story it published on Friday morning on former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s cooperation with the government in the Russian election meddling probe.

Initially, the network reported that Flynn was prepared to testify that then-candidate Donald Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians during Trump's presidential campaign. ABC clarified Friday evening that a source said Flynn will testify that Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians during the administration transition as president-elect – not during the campaign – about working together to fight ISIS. ABC News later issued a correction and suspended Ross for four weeks.

(Previous story)

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn said that as a candidate, President Donald Trump directed him to contact Russian officials, according to reports. 

>> Read more trending news

Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI Friday and offered full cooperation in its investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. 

“(Trump) directed (Flynn) to make contact with the Russians,” ABC News reported.

An unnamed, senior Trump transition team official directed the contact, according to The Associated Press

Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, asked Flynn to make contact with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, according to reports

In the days after President Barack Obama signed legislation sanctioning Russia for interfering with the 2016 presidential election, the Russian ambassador contacted Flynn, according to court documents

The next day, Flynn contacted a senior official, Kushner, with the transition team, who was with other members of the team at Trump’s Mar-A-Lago resort Dec. 29, 2016, to find out if there was anything the team wanted to communicate with the Russian diplomat.

Flynn discussed the sanctions, the impact of them and not wanting to escalate them with the transition team official. Immediately after this conversation, Flynn called the Russian official and asked that Russia not escalate the situation. Flynn then contacted the Trump team official to report the substance of the discussion. 

A day later, Russian President Vladimir Putin said they would not retaliate in response to the sanctions. The ambassador called Flynn to let him know Dec. 31, 2016.

Flynn released the following statement: 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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