On Monday, a variety of national news outlets issued retractions over previous reports that claimed former President Donald Trump pressed a lead Georgia election investigator in a phone call to “find the fraud” in the 2020 Presidential Election and that the investigator would be praised as a “national hero for doing so.”
According to The Christian Post, The Washington Post and the Associated Press were reportedly told by an unnamed source that Trump told Georgia Secretary of State investigator Frances Watson in a phone call on Dec. 23, 2020, to audit mail-in ballots in the state's counties as he contested the presidential election results.
Last week, the Wall Street Journal published an audio recording of the six-minute call that showed that Trump never told Watson to “find the fraud” or claimed that he would be a “national hero for doing so.”
Instead, Trump told the election investigator to verify signatures of mail-in ballots in Fulton County, which is home to the city of Atlanta, the state’s capital. The former president told her that he won the peach state “by a lot” despite President Joe Biden beating Trump by a narrow margin of over 12,000 votes out of the 5 million votes cast, according to a finalized vote tally.
In response, Watson told Trump that her team and the GBI, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, were “working through it” and that the audit would continue after Christmas.
On Monday, The Washington Post, who first published the story on Jan. 9, wrote a lengthy correction to their story concerning their misquotation of Trump’s comments on the call.
“The recording revealed that The Post misquoted Trump's comments on the call, based on information provided by a source,” the news outlet explained. “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 that she would find 'dishonesty' there. He also told her that she had 'the most important job in the country right now,'" the correction continued.
US news outlets including CNN, ABC News, NBC News and USA Today later “confirmed” the original reporting of the Washington Post, NZ Herald reports.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press retracted Trump’s misquoted comments on their article, which was also published on Jan 9.
The news outlet admitted they “erroneously reported that Trump pressed the investigator to “find the fraud” and said it would make the investigator a national hero” after being provided information “by a source.”
“A recording of the call made public two months later revealed that Trump did not say either and instead said that if the investigator looked into Fulton County the investigator would “find things that are gonna be unbelievable,” the AP stated. “Trump also told the investigator: ‘When the right answer comes out, you’ll be praised.'”
CNN also issued a correction to the story on Monday.
The now-debunked comments had been cited as evidence in the articles of impeachment in the U.S House during Trump’s second impeachment trial, in which he was later acquitted last month.
In a published statement by Trump on Monday, he thanked the Washington Post for the correction while asserting that the original story was “a hoax, right from the very beginning.”
Photo courtesy: Roman Kraft/Unsplash
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.