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Earlier today, ABC’s Brian Ross reported that “candidate Donald Trump” ordered Mike Flynn to make contact with the Russians.

This construction stuck me as curious because everything concerning Flynn’s indictment and his promising to tell all on others revolved around the period of the transition. For instance, Jared Kushner was pointed at for telling Flynn to call the Russian ambassador and to encourage him to vote against an anti-Israel UN resolution coming up for a vote, a resolution the Obama administration abstained on. I don’t see how this call can be bootstrapped into colluding with Russia to win the election because it is about Israel and takes place in December, but whatever. In a post earlier today, I say:

The claim about Trump may or may not mean anything. We have no information on when this conversation in which Flynn was directed to reach out to the Russians took place and the way ABC and other outlets keeps saying “candidate Donald Trump” without attaching a date to it leads me to believe they don’t know when it is alleged to have happened either. (But they are trying to frame it as having happened before the election.) Taken in totality with his guilty plea and his statement about “transition officials,” the direction Flynn received was probably some time after November 8. If so, then this is very thin stuff. As president-elect Trump certainly had the authority to initiate contact with Russia and it has been pretty well documented that that happened. But, again, we just don’t know.

Now ABC has retracted the “candidate” part of the story.

This does as I suggested. It takes a story purporting to be about Donald Trump ordering Flynn to contact the Russians sometime before November 8 and changes it to a nothingburger about the president-elect directing his national security adviser-designate to contact the Russians.

It is hard to see how this was an accidental error because ‘layers and layers of fact checkers and editors.’ The “candidate” part of this is 100% of the story. Without it you’re reading last December’s newspapers.

And it isn’t like it was a harmless error: