( Daily Caller ) ABC News has suspended anchor Brian Ross after having to correct what initially seemed to be a bombshell story on President Trump and former national security adviser Michael Flynn that sent markets tumbling.
The veteran newsman has a long history of erroneous reports.
“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,” the network said in a statement. “As a result of our continued reporting over the next several hours ultimately we determined the information was wrong and we corrected the mistake on air and online.”
Ross, citing a single anonymous source, falsely reported that Flynn was prepared to testify that Trump ordered him to make contacts with the Russians during the campaign. ABC News later corrected the report, saying the still-unnamed source had “clarified” that Trump’s order took place after the election, during his administration’s transition phase into power.
“It was shortly after the election, that President-elect Trump directed Flynn to contact Russian officials on topics that included working jointly against ISIS,” ABC News said in their correction.
Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow read the stunning timeline breakdown of the Lynch-Clinton tarmac docs on his radio show Friday morning.
Mike Levine of ABC News made contact to Melanie Newman (Director of DOJ Office for Public Affairs) with message:
” Hey guys, wanted to address something ASAP…Apparently our affiliate in Phoenix is hearing that the AG met with Bill Clinton on a plane last night for close to an hour. But hoping I can provide them some guidance ASAP. Thanks”
Below is a timeline breakdown of the first 30 minutes of the news breaking over the Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting in Phoenix in June 2016 via the lawyers at ACLJ. Crisis management from DOJ responded within ONE MINUTE of the email inquiry from ABC about the meeting. The first email was sent at 1:14 PM, the response was at 1:15 PM. The full breakdown can be read here.
The full document production, including the still redacted talking points can be found here.
June 28, 2016
Email Chain: “Bill Clinton meeting?”
- 1:14pm – Mike Levine (ABC News) to Melanie Newman (Director of DOJ Office for Public Affairs) (OPA)      
- Content: “Hey guys, wanted to address something ASAP…Apparently our affiliate in Phoenix is hearing that the AG met with Bill Clinton on a plane last night for close to an hour. They seem to think it’s somehow connected to the Benghazi report released today (“I’m not sure what the connection would be). But hoping I can provide them some guidance ASAP. Thanks.”
- Context: First media request about Clinton/Lynch Meeting.
- 1:15pm – Newman (OPA) forwards ABC email to Carolyn Pokorny (Deputy Chief of Staff & Counselor to AG Lynch) (OAG) and Kevin Lewis (Press Secretary for DOJ to AG Lynch) (OPA)      
- Content: “We need to talk. I’m on cell (redacted (b)(6))”
- Context: Based on the time zone, Pokorny and Lewis appear to have been with the AG.
- Note: Email Sent to senior OAG Officials within 1 min of story breaking.
- 1:16pm (10:15 AM PST) – Pokorny (OAG) to Newman (OPA).     
- Content: “+Matt. I’m free. I will get a conference line.”
- Note: Within 2 min, Matthew Axlerod (ODAG), the Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General (#2 to DAG Yates), was added to the conversation. His current bio states that he “took the lead in advising on crisis management within the DOJ, working closely with the White House, Congress, the FBI, and the media on DOJ’s most sensitive and high-profile matters.”
- 1:17pm – Newman (OPA) to Levine (ABC) 
- Content: “What’s your number?”
- 1:17PM – Pokorny (OAG) Emails    
- Content: “Dial-in: (Redacted (b)(6)). Passcode: (Redacted (b)(6)).”
- 1:18pm: – Lewis (OPA) Emails  
- Content: “+SF and Uma”
- Context: This denotes that at this time, Shirlethia Franklin (Deputy Chief of Staff & Counselor to AG Lynch) (OAG) and Uma Amuluru (Counselor to the AG) (OAG) were added to the conversation.
- 1:20PM – Shirlethia Franklin (OAG) to Lewis (OPA) ccing Pokorny (OAG), Newman (OPA), Mathew Axelrod (Associate Deputy AG to AG Sally Yates) (ODAG), and Amuluru (OAG) 
- Content: “I can step out and hop on a call. Is there a conference line?”
- 1:24pm: – Levine (ABC) emails Newman (OPA) 
- Content: “Are you in your office? I can [come] by in like 15 or so.”
- 1:25PM – Lewis (OPA) Emails  
- Content: “I need to stay at the event right now because press is here. The press avail starts in about 40 minutes.”
- 1:25PM – Franklin (OAG) Emails    
- Content: “Kevin – I’ll fill you in. Shirlethia.”
- 1:26PM – Amuluru (OAG) to Franklin (OAG) ccing Lewis (OPA), Newman (OPA), Pokorny (OAG), Axelrod (ODAG)    
- Content: “Same”
- 1:29pm: – Newman (OPA) to Levine (ABC) 
- Content: “I’m not but heading back. I’ll call you.”
- 1:32PM: Levine (ABC) to Newman (OPA) 
- Content: “Sounds good thx.
- 1:44PM – Newman (OPA) Emails    
- Content: “Adding Peter to this chain for review. Peter – feel free to call me to discuss. 202-305-1920. Draft Statement: (Redacted(b)(5))”