CNN makes major correction on Trump-Russia bombshell after Washington Post threw timeline into question

Donald Trump Jr.

Donald Trump Jr.
Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images
  • CNN on Friday issued a major correction to a Trump-Russia story.
  • A Washington Post story may have nullified the bombshell of CNN’s report that it corrected.
  • CBS News had confirmed CNN’s initial report but also later issued a correction.

CNN on Friday issued a correction of a story detailing an email sent last year to top officials in President Donald Trump’s circle about hacked documents from WikiLeaks.

Earlier Friday, CNN published a story saying that on September 4, 2016, Trump, then the Republican presidential nominee, as well as his son Donald Trump Jr. and other Trump Organization staffers, received an email offering a decryption key and web address for a cache of hacked documents WikiLeaks possessed.

But the email was actually sent on September 14, 2016, CNN’s correction said.

“CNN’s initial reporting of the date on an email sent to members of the Trump campaign about WikiLeaks documents, which was confirmed by two sources close to CNN, was incorrect,” CNN said in a statement.

September 4 was more than a month before WikiLeaks began releasing hacked emails from John Podesta, the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, and less than three weeks before it sent Trump Jr. private messages on Twitter.

It was also – importantly – nine days before the release of hacked emails from former Secretary of State Colin Powell on the website, and of others from the Democratic National Committee on WikiLeaks.

Hours after CNN’s report, The Washington Post published a story that first brought to light the discrepancy in the timeline.

The date change makes a world of difference.

The sender wrote that Powell’s and the DNC’s hacked emails could be accessed – and since both of those caches had already been made public, The Post wrote, the sender “may have simply been flagging information that was already widely available.”

CNN said the email was described to it by “multiple sources” and “verified by Trump Jr.’s attorney.”

CBS News separately on Friday confirmed the email, first reporting – as CNN did – that the message was sent on September 4. Soon after, however, CBS also corrected the date.

CBS published a photo of the email, though it did not include the date it was sent. One line in the email said: “The Collin [sic] Powell info is on”

“If the Washington Post is correct, then the whole CNN story was fundamentally wrong and misleading,” said Glenn Greenwald, a journalist with The Intercept.

Chuck Ross, a reporter for The Daily Caller, tweeted that “the CNN screw up is worse than the Brian Ross screw up,” referring to an incorrect report last week on Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn from Ross, an ABC News investigative reporter whom the network has since suspended.

“As I write this, this story is still up on CNN’s website, even though the date in it is wrong,” said Brit Hume, a Fox News political analyst. “The email was not sent until 10 days later, after the Wikileaks documents were already public.”