Several major news organizations were forced to provide corrections or clarifications on stories that initially claimed investigators had subpoenaed Donald Trump’s financial records from a German bank.
After an initial report about a subpoena from the German daily Handlesblatt, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal and other news outlets reported that Deutsche Bank had received a subpoena from Special Counsel Robert Mueller targeting Trump and his family’s bank records. Those reports were disputed by White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Trump’s personal lawyer.
“We confirmed that the news reports that the special counsel had subpoenaed financial records related to the president are completely false,” Sanders said during the White House’s daily press conference. “No subpoena has been issued or received. We have confirmed this with the bank and other sources. I think this is another example of the media going too far and too fast and we don’t see it going in that direction.”
“We have confirmed that the news reports that the Special Counsel had subpoenaed financial records relating to the president are false. No subpoena has been issued or received. We have confirmed this with the bank and other sources,” Trump lawyer John Dowd wrote in an email.
Instead of targeting Trump or his family’s records, the subpoenas were aimed at records that pertain to people or organizations affiliated with the president, according to the corrected stories.
Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal have since issued corrections or clarifications about their stories. “An earlier subheadline said a subpoena from special counsel Robert Mueller’s office requested data and documents about President Trump’s accounts. The subpoena concerns people or entities close to Mr. Trump,” the Wall Street Journal said.
AFP reported late Tuesday that the subpoena sought information about Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign official who was indicted in October.
The corrections and clarifications come just days after ABC News suspended investigative reporter Brian Ross after he falsely reported that former Trump administration official Michael Flynn had said he was told to make contact with Russian government officials when Trump was still a candidate. Instead, the alleged instructions to contact Russians came after the election, when Trump was president-elect and his team was transitioning into power.