In an exclusive report on Friday, CNN made a major error in reporting key details of an alleged offer made to Donald Trump Jr. in September 2016, regarding a batch of documents from WikiLeaks.
CNN’s Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb reported the network’s exclusive which was hyped as possibly the first evidence that Trump’s campaign was given advanced notification about stolen documents from the Democrats — a report that appears to be plagued with key errors and which also misled by omitting the larger context of what really happened.
The Washington Post was the first to report on the errors in CNN’s report, which included making a crucial error in the timeline of events.
CNN claimed that Trump Jr. was sent an email on September 4, 2016, from a person named Michael J. Erickson which included a link to WikiLeaks documents and a decryption key to access the purportedly stolen emails. The date CNN reported, however, was incorrect. The actual date of the email was September 14.
The Post notes:
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 date is significant because it shows that Trump Jr. was sent documents from WikiLeaks that were already available to the public, which undermines the key premise of CNN’s story that the Trump campaign was in cahoots with WikiLeaks to bring down the Clinton campaign.
Below is a tweet from WikiLeaks on September 13, 2016, where the organization released the batch of emails that The Post’s report refers to.
CNN’s report also insinuated that Erickson could have been tied to a “Russian front group” – a claim that again appears to be a stretch, as the Daily Caller reported:
Erickson also appears not to be a super-secret Kremlin agent. The Post identified him as the president of an aviation management company.
Furthermore, Alan S. Futerfas, an attorney for Trump Jr., told The Post that Trump Jr. never even responded to the email.
“The email was never read or responded to — and the House Intelligence Committee knows this,” Futerfas told The Post. “It is profoundly disappointing that members of the House Intelligence Committee would deliberately leak a document, with the misleading suggestion that the information was not public, when they know that there is not a scintilla of evidence that Mr. Trump Jr. read or responded to the email.”