Following The Washington Post’s lengthy correction added to a January 9 article claiming then-President Donald Trump pressured a Georgia election investigator to “find the fraud” and that she would be a “national hero” if she did so, the Post outed the source that fed them the false quotes.
On Tuesday, the Post’s media critic, Erik Wemple, reported that the original story was “based on an account from Jordan Fuchs, the deputy secretary of state, whom Watson briefed on his comments.”
Fuchs had told the Post and subsequent media outlets that Trump pressured Frances Watson, chief investigator of the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, by insisting Watson “find the fraud.” As The Daily Wire reported earlier this week, an audio recording of the phone call published by The Wall Street Journal shows Trump never issued such demands.
“I won everything but Georgia, and I won Georgia, I know that, by a lot, and the people know it, and something happened there, something bad happened,” Trump actually said on the call. “I hope you go back two years as opposed to just checking one against the other because that would just be sort of a signature check that doesn’t mean anything. But if you go back two years, and if you can get to [Fulton County], you are going to find things that are unbelievable. The dishonesty.”
Trump told Watson near the end of the call that “when the right answer comes out, you’ll be praised.”
Fuchs defended her comments to the Post insisting that what she said was not supposed to be printed as direct quotes, but rather as her interpretation of the call.
“I believe the story accurately reflected the investigator’s interpretation of the call. The only mistake here was in the direct quotes, and they should have been more of a summary,” Fuchs told Wemple. “I think it’s pretty absurd for anybody to suggest that the president wasn’t urging the investigator to ‘find the fraud.’ These are quotes that [Watson] told me at the time.”
Both the Post and CNN issued corrections for their stories. The Post’s correction read:
Correction: Two months after publication of this story, the Georgia secretary of state released an audio recording of President Donald Trump’s December phone call with the state’s top elections investigator. The recording revealed that The Post misquoted Trump’s comments on the call, based on information provided by a source. Trump did not tell the investigator to “find the fraud” or say she would be “a national hero” if she did so. Instead, Trump urged the investigator to scrutinize ballots in Fulton County, Ga., asserting she would find “dishonesty” there. He also told her that she had “the most important job in the country right now.” A story about the recording can be found here. The headline and text of this story have been corrected to remove quotes misattributed to Trump.
CNN’s correction read:
An earlier version of this story, published January 9, presented paraphrasing of the President’s comments to the Georgia elections investigator as direct quotes. The story has been updated following the discovery of an audio recording of the call. Read more here.
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