Editor's Note: Post has been updated to include that CNN also included Donald Trump and other officials in the Wikileaks non-story. Also, Michael Erickson emailed the Trump team, not Wikileaks. That's on me, folks.
Bombshell! A man emailed Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and other figures within the Trump inner circle with possible foreknowledge to thousands of emails during the 2016 election—and had given him the decryption key for the hacked documents from the DNC and John Podesta. CNN dropped this report earlier today [emhasis mine]:
Candidate Donald Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr. and others in the Trump Organization received an email in September 2016 offering a decryption key and website address for hacked WikiLeaks documents, according to an email provided to congressional investigators.
The September 4 email was sent during the final stretch of the 2016 presidential race -- on the same day that Trump Jr. first tweeted about WikiLeaks and Clinton.
Whoa. If the Trump camp had access to stolen emails in advance and guided Wikileaks' activity last fall, that would amount to a criminal conspiracyhttps://t.co/OI3jZ9D9E8— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) December 8, 2017
Are we getting closer to evidence of Russian collusion? Is this a hot story? No, not even close. In fact, it’s completely wrong. All of this information was public and it was The Washington Post who reported on this trip up. CNN stepped on a rake on this one, or if you will, pulled a Brian Ross [emphasis mine]:
A 2016 email sent to President Trump and top aides pointed the campaign to hacked documents from the Democratic National Committee that had already been made public by the group WikiLeaks a day earlier.
The email — sent the afternoon of Sept. 14, 2016 — noted that “Wikileaks has uploaded another (huge 678 mb) archive of files from the DNC” and included a link and a “decryption key,” according to a copy obtained by The Washington Post.
The writer, who said his name was Michael J. Erickson and described himself as the president of an aviation management company, sent the message to the then-Republican nominee as well as his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., and other top advisers.
The day before, WikiLeaks had tweeted links to what the group said was 678.4 megabytes of DNC documents.
The full email — which was first described to CNN as being sent on Sept. 4, 10 days earlier — indicates that the writer may have simply been flagging information that was already widely available.
Holy crap. That’s a huge error. Like Brian Ross level huge. https://t.co/Qio646xjm0— Liz Wheeler (@Liz_Wheeler) December 8, 2017
And this was hardly a time bomb in the first place. Media outlets keep shooting themselves in the foot. https://t.co/mczmLu4j83— Ed Morrissey (@EdMorrissey) December 8, 2017
Instead of retracting its report, CNN is demanding to know why Trump didn't *tell the FBI* about a rando who e-mailed public info. https://t.co/VK8U5x5YAc— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) December 8, 2017
So CNN misreported the date of the Wikileaks email that @DonaldJTrumpJr received, meaning that the entire point of the story --— Sarah Westwood (@sarahcwestwood) December 8, 2017
that the campaign might have gotten advance warning of the leaks -- is wrong. Wow. https://t.co/oiXngwHZAq
ABC News’ Brian Ross also had an issue with dates that cost him four weeks without pay. He was suspended after he erroneously reported that Michael Flynn had been directed to contact the Russians by Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign. This was actually discussed after the election when President-elect Trump was laying the diplomatic groundwork for his incoming administration. Ross was suspended and will no longer be reporting on the president. It seems at CNN, they didn’t learn anything from ABC News’s trip up.
Statement from CNN PR pic.twitter.com/H7XZ8Fuzdi— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) December 8, 2017
UPDATE: CNN won’t discipline reporter who filed incorrect story on Trump Jr./Wikileaks, says he followed editorial guidelines but his sources gave him wrong information.
Yeah, again, this information was public—and this fact hasn’t gone unnoticed.
A CNN spokeswoman says there will not be disciplinary action in this case because, unlike with Brian Ross/ABC, @MKRaju followed the editorial standards process. Multiple sources provided him with incorrect info.— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) December 8, 2017
Name the sources. Being lied to negates any obligation to respect on-background guidelines. https://t.co/gU1xtbRQNX— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) December 8, 2017
“My sources lies to me about information I could have verified and that was readily available and open to the public online”— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) December 8, 2017