House Speaker Demands Retraction, But ABC Stands By Hastert/Abramoff Story

By Brian 

“The Justice Department is denying and House Speaker Dennis Hastert is demanding a retraction of an ABC News report alleging that he is under investigation by federal agents for his dealings with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff,” the Wall Street Journal says.

Here’s the original report by Brian Ross. It aired on World News Tonight at 6:30 p.m. Then the Department of Justice issued an unusual one-sentence public statement: “Speaker Hastert is not under investigation by the Justice Department.” By 8 p.m., the ABC report was being discredited on talk radio.

But ABC wisely updated its Web site with an “ABC News Update on Hastert Story.” It says: “Despite a flat denial from the Department of Justice, federal law enforcement sources tonight said ABC News accurately reported that Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert is ‘in the mix’ in the FBI investigation of corruption in Congress.” The source said the Justice Department’s denial “was meant only to deny that Hastert was a formal ‘target’ or ‘subject’ of the investigation…”