NEW YORK (UPI) — ABC News suspended chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross for four weeks without pay due to a “serious error” in his reporting about Michael Flynn.
Ross, 69, cited on-air Friday a Flynn confidante as saying Flynn was prepared to testify Donald Trump instructed him to contact Russian officials during his presidential campaign. However, ABC News said the source later clarified Trump assigned Flynn and a few other senior advisers after the election to find ways to improve relations with Russia, specifically regarding working together against the Islamic State.
ABC News corrected the story hours after the original report aired.
“We deeply regret and apologize for the serious error we made yesterday,” ABC News said in a statement Saturday. “The reporting conveyed by Brian Ross during the special report had not been fully vetted through our editorial standards process. 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. It is vital we get the story right and retain the trust we have built with our audience — these are our core principles. We fell far short of that yesterday.”
Ross re-tweeted the statement and posted his own message, which reads, “My job is to hold people accountable and that’s why I agree with being held accountable myself.”
Flynn pleaded guilty Friday to one count of making a false statement to the FBI about his interactions with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Flynn, a retired general and former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, served as national security adviser under Trump for less than a month before he was fired for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his Russian contacts. Flynn is also under investigation by congressional committees probing alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.
United Press International is an international news agency whose newswires, photo, news film, and audio services provided news material to thousands of newspapers, magazines and radio and television stations for most of the 20th century.