Friday night word broke that there had been at least one indictment filed under seal in federal court related to the Mueller probe. The entire story and media feeding frenzy came about because of CNN, which was also the network to report James Comey would contradict the President before Congress. Comey did not do that. This is the same network that fired several staffers for a report on Anthony Scaramucci that had to be retracted. So with those two stories there are already those sowing doubt about CNN’s credibility here. I suspect, however, that CNN has fixed the breakdowns in its editorial process and is on the money here. Reuters, I should note, subsequently confirmed the CNN story. CNN, likewise, despite these missteps has a very solid team of reporters, producers, and anchors who take accuracy seriously.
Paul Manafort and/or Mike Flynn seem to be likely suspects. I heard someone speculate that Mike Flynn’s son could also be involved. Manafort seems most likely and, based on weekend reporting, we could actually see Manafort indicted for something that happened prior to his work for Trump and actually unrelated to his work for Trump. That would actually help the Trump team. They could credibly argue that Mueller had to go there because he found nothing to cause an indictment of the Presidential campaign team related to the campaign.
That the President’s friends in the media have spent a week excoriating Robert Mueller and demanding he be fired, in addition to other nonsensical claims and stories this week, suggests they know something is coming and are trying to muddy the water.
But, and this is a big but, if CNN did get the story wrong, they will have opened themselves up to the President yet again tarring and feathering them for fake news. The network could put the AT&T—Time Warner merger in jeopardy too. It is unfortunate that we now live in a country with a First Amendment, but a government and its mob of supporters not really interested in preserving it. Concurrently, however, a news network cannot and should not be spared bad press when it reports something as big as this and gets it wrong. Though many would lament the President’s sustained attacks on CNN if there are no indictments, they would have made it very easy for the President.
Today we will find out. Either there will be at least one indictment or CNN is in trouble as is, potentially, the AT&T—Time Warner merger.