ABC News has suspended investigative reporter Brian Ross for four weeks without pay for his erroneous report on Michael Flynn, which it called a “serious error,” the Associated Press reports. Ross, citing an unnamed confidant of Flynn, the former national security adviser, reported Friday that then-candidate Donald Trump had directed Flynn to make contact with the Russians. That would have been an explosive development in the ongoing investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to interfere in the election.
A few hours later, Ross clarified his report, saying that his source now said Trump had done so not as a candidate, but as president-elect. At that point, he said, Trump had asked Flynn to contact the Russians about issues including working together to fight ISIS. ABC issued a correction later in the evening. “We deeply regret and apologize for the serious error we made yesterday,” the network said 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.”