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- ABC News corrected a critical detail from its original report on former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s plea deal.
- A spokesperson said one of the network’s sources clarified that Flynn was prepared to testify that Trump, as president-elect, instructed Flynn to establish contact with Russia on various matters of interest to the incoming administration.
- The initial report caused some panic in US markets on Friday morning.
In a televised report, ABC News’ Brian Ross said that Flynn was prepared to testify that Donald Trump, as a presidential candidate, “directed him to make contact with the Russians.”
ABC News, which reported its story based in part on information received from an unnamed Flynn associate, said the source later clarified that, “during the campaign, Trump assigned Flynn and a small circle of other senior advisers to find ways to repair relations with Russia and other hot spots,” ABC News’ correction read. “It was shortly after the election, that President-elect Trump directed Flynn to contact Russian officials.”
The contacts were purportedly intended to discuss “topics that included working jointly against ISIS,” ABC News’ statement said.
The initial report rattled US markets Friday morning as the newest development in the Russia probe unfolded. It was not immediately clear why ABC News reported the clarification hours later.
Flynn pleaded guilty to one felony count of lying to the FBI as part of a deal with special counsel Robert Mueller, who is conducting the investigation of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion between members of Trump’s inner circle and Russian operatives. Flynn is expected to be a cooperating witness in Mueller’s case.