Donald Trump is seizing on ABC News’ Brian Ross inaccurately reporting details of Michael Flynn’s cooperation with the FBI.
In a series of tweets that began Saturday night and continued into Sunday morning, the president “congratulated” the news organization for suspending Ross for four weeks. ABC made the decision after learning that Ross erroneously reported that a source told him Flynn was set to testify that Trump, while still a candidate, directed him to make contact with Russian officials. (Ross later clarified, via his source, “It was shortly after the election that President-elect Trump directed Flynn to contact Russian officials.”)
“Congratulations to @ABC News for suspending Brian Ross for his horrendously inaccurate and dishonest report on the Russia, Russia, Russia Witch Hunt,” Trump wrote Sunday. “More Networks and “papers” should do the same with their Fake News!”
Ross’ report came just hours after the bombshell news that Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, was cooperating with Robert Mueller and the special counsel’s office and that he would plead guilty to the charge of willfully lying to the FBI. ABC was reportedly embarrassed over the matter, and Ross accepted the disciplinary action his employer took without qualification. “My job is to hold people accountable and that’s why I agree with being held accountable myself,” he wrote in a statement on Twitter.
When Ross’ erroneous report first broke Friday morning, the case for collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government was considerably bolstered in the minds of many, and the stock market took a temporary nosedive. (It gradually recovered when the report was corrected.) On Sunday morning, Trump returned to the topic of Ross, suggesting that the “people who lost money” sue ABC for damages.
“People who lost money when the Stock Market went down 350 points based on the False and Dishonest reporting of Brian Ross of @ABC News (he has been suspended), should consider hiring a lawyer and suing ABC for the damages this bad reporting has caused,” Trump argued. “Many millions of dollars!”
Trump’s Sunday comments about Ross came near the end of a busy Twitter morning for the president. Michael S. Schmidt, Washington correspondent for the New York Times who covers the FBI and the special counsel’s investigation, noted that within a 90-minute span, five of Trump’s tweets and retweets were about and aimed at the FBI.