It has been an up and down week for investigative reporting at the TV news networks.
Today, it’s CNN’s turn. The network is facing some backlash in light of its recent report on the Trump campaign having early access to WikiLeaks’ pile of documents.
According to the Washington Post, CNN’s report is inaccurate, and documents were already public.
Earlier today, the network reported that congressional investigators gained access to an email that was sent last year to Pres. Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and other Trump Organization officials. The email reportedly contained tools that would allow users to get an early look at the hacked information WikiLeaks released roughly two months before 2016 presidential election.
CNN reported this morning that the email was sent on September 4, but the WaPo says it was sent on Sept. 14, and left it an open question whether the documents had been previously released.
The email to the Trump Organization was sent by a “Michael J. Erickson.” Investigators are reportedly trying to determine if it’s real before including it into their findings of the connections between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks.
This report indicates that the sender — a “Michael J. Erickson” — could have just been trying to alert campaign officials to the publicly available WikiLeaks reserve.
Trump Jr. told the House Intelligence Committee yesterday that he has “no recollection” of the email, and here’s the most recent statement his lawyer has provided, tweeted by CNN congressional correspondent Manu Raju, who has a byline on the original story:
NEW STATEMENT: Trump Jr’s attorney responds to our story. “We understand that the media reported 12 hours prior to this email that the DNC emails had been hacked or leaked. We do not know who Mike Erickson is. We have no idea who he is. We never responded to the email.”
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) December 8, 2017
*UPDATE: A CNN spokesperson referred TVNewser to the below statement:
CNN’s initial reporting of the date on an email sent to members of the Trump campaign about Wikileaks documents, which was confirmed by two sources to CNN, was incorrect. We have updated our story to include the correct date, and present the proper context for the timing of email
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) December 8, 2017
CNN adjusted its story, and Raju addressed the error this afternoon during an appearance on CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) December 8, 2017
Pres. Trump was fully aware of CNN’s gaffe, and addressed it during his rally in the Florida Panhandle last night. “Did you see all the corrections the media’s been making?” he said to the rallygoers. “They’ve been apologizing left and right.” He talked about suing ABC, and then turned to CNN: “They apologized, oh thank you CNN, thank you so much… “You should have been apologizing for the last two years.”