Earlier Friday, CNN published a story saying that then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr., and other Trump Organization staffers received a September 4, 2016, email.
President Donald Trump roasted CNN Friday evening during a "Merry Christmas" rally in Pensacola, Florida, for the false report the cable news network corrected earlier in the day.
The timeline in this story is especially important, because Donald Trump Jr. and Wikileaks are both huge parts of the investigation into Russia's hacking of the election. They apologized. Oh, thank you, CNN.
The email - sent the afternoon of September 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.
But The Washington Post obtained the email itself and reported Friday afternoon that the message was actually dated September 14, 2016 - a difference that sets Trump Jr.'s receipt 10 days later. It's not clear whether the email was a legitimate effort to provide the hacked documents to the Trump campaign.
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"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 close to CNN, was incorrect", CNN said in a statement. Now CNN has corrected its story, noting in the text of its article that since the e-mail was September 14, not September 4, "the communication is less significant than CNN initially reported".
As of the time of this publication, CNN has not corrected, retracted or amended its report. "The new information indicates that the communication is less significant than CNN initially reported", reads the current version of the piece. In a tweet the previous day, WikiLeaks had released 678.4 megabytes of DNC emails.
CNN's original report said the email was sent more than a month before WikiLeaks began releasing Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta's hacked emails, less than three weeks before WikiLeaks itself sent Trump Jr. private messages on Twitter, and - importantly - 10 days prior to the release of hacked emails from former Secretary of State Colin Powell and additional emails from the Democratic National Committee.
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". CNN said this information was based on "accounts from two sources who had seen the email". It is unclear if the sender's name is actually Michael Erickson. Asked about possible disciplinary measures, a CNN source responded, "There will not be any disciplinary action taken because every procedure put in place as part of the editorial process was followed".
Futerfas said that he and Trump Jr. had been required to surrender their electronic devices during the interview for security reasons.