ABC News clarifies a critical detail in its report on Michael Flynn's plea deal

George Frey/Getty Images
  • ABC News issued a clarification on a critical detail from its original report on former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s plea deal.
  • A spokesperson said one of the network’s sources clarified that Flynn was prepared to testify that Trump, as president-elect, instructed Flynn to establish contact with Russia on various matters of interest to the incoming administration.
  • The initial report caused some panic in US markets on Friday morning.

ABC’s “World News” program clarified a crucial detail in its initial report on former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s plea deal that caused US stocks to plunge Friday morning.

In a televised report, ABC News’ Brian Ross said that Flynn was prepared to testify that Donald Trump, as a presidential candidate, “directed him to make contact with the Russians.”

ABC News, which reported its story based in part on information received from an unnamed Flynn associate, said the source later clarified that, according to Flynn, President-elect Trump “asked him to contact Russia” during the transition period. The contacts were purportedly aimed to “discuss issues, including working together to fight ISIS,” ABC News’ statement said.

The initial report rattled US markets Friday morning as the newest development in the Russia probe unfolded. It was not immediately clear why ABC News reported the clarification hours later.

Flynn pleaded guilty to one felony count of lying to the FBI as part of a deal with special counsel Robert Mueller, who is conducting the investigation of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion between members of Trump’s inner circle and Russian operatives. Flynn is expected to be a cooperating witness in Mueller’s case.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.