RNC calls on ABC News to 'fully retract and apologize' for Flynn report

RNC calls on ABC News to 'fully retract and apologize' for Flynn report
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The Republican National Committee (RNC) is calling on ABC News to retract a widely-criticized report about former national security adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with Russia and issue an apology for its error.

The bombshell report, which claimed that President TrumpDonald John TrumpHR McMaster says president's policy to withdraw troops from Afghanistan is 'unwise' Cast of 'Parks and Rec' reunite for virtual town hall to address Wisconsin voters Biden says Trump should step down over coronavirus response MORE had directed Flynn on the campaign trail to establish contacts with the Russians, was reported live on-air Friday morning, prompting turbulence in financial markets. 

But the information given in the on-air report was never included in the article posted on ABC News's website. The network later issued a "clarification," saying a confidant of Flynn said that it was after the election Trump directed Flynn to reach out to Russian officials.

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That clarification, however, was widely criticized as insufficient and lackluster, and the network eventually issued a "correction."

According to the confidant cited by ABC, it was after the election that Trump "directed Flynn to contact Russian officials on topics that included working jointly against ISIS." 

"Mistakes happen, but the decision not to post the report online suggests ABC News doubted its accuracy from early on," the RNC said in a statement.

"It took over 6 hours to issue a widely-panned 'clarification' and another 5 hours to reissue that same weak statement, altered only to include the word 'correction' at the front," it continued.

"ABC News should fully retract and apologize."

ABC News's original report on Friday came just after Flynn, who left the White House in February, pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about his contacts with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the month before Trump took office.

He acknowledged in a statement shortly after he entered his guilty plea that he is cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

Court documents released Friday indicated that Flynn's December 2016 contacts with Kislyak were directed by Trump transition officials.

Multiple news reports have identified Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner as one of the officials referenced. An Associated Press report also identified former deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland as another official referenced in the court documents.