WaPo, WSJ Report on Major Error in CNN 'Exclusive' About Trump WikiLeaks Email

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December 8, 2017

Multiple reports published Friday threw cold water on a CNN story that said the Trump campaign received advance WikiLeaks information in an email, reporting that the information in the email was already public.

"Exclusive: Email shows effort to give Trump campaign WikiLeaks documents," CNN reported Friday morning.

"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," CNN reported.

"The September 4 email," the story continued, "was sent during the final stretch of the 2016 presidential race —on the same day that Trump Jr. first tweeted about WikiLeaks and Clinton."

CNN added that the email "indicated that the Trump campaign could access records from former Secretary of State Colin Powell, whose hacked emails were made public by a Russian front group 10 days later."

But the Washington Post reported hours later that CNN got the date of the email wrong, noting it was actually sent on Sept. 14, after Powell's leaked emails were already released.

"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," the Post wrote.

An attorney for Donald Trump Jr. told the Post that the email was just one of "a ton of unsolicited emails like this on a variety of topics."

Wall Street Journal reporter Rebecca Ballhaus soon chimed in, adding that the email came from a small-time Trump donor and was "riddled with typos."

By the time of the corrections, numerous liberal pundits and politicians, and others critical of Trump, had already seized on the CNN story as evidence that Trump colluded with the Russian government in 2016.