Report in haste, repent at leisure. ABC is no longer alone this week in wiping the dripping egg off its face over a Trump “scoop” that never was. Today it was Bloomberg’s turn to correct the record, rendering yesterday’s breaking news about subpoenas at Deutsche Bank from a four-alarm Mueller Alert to a nothingburger, at least as far as it concerns Donald Trump.
Special prosecutor Robert Mueller zeroed in on President Donald Trump’s business dealings with Deutsche Bank AG as his investigation into alleged Russian meddling in U.S. elections widens.
Mueller issued a subpoena to Germany’s largest lender several weeks ago, forcing the bank to submit documents on its relationship with Trump and his family, according to a person briefed on the matter, who asked not to be identified because the action has not been announced.
The news was stunning because Trump had made public comments that explicitly warned Mueller not to use the Russia-collusion probe as an excuse to dig into his business records. If Mueller was subpoenaing Deutsche Bank to get to the Trump family’s finances, it meant that a constitutional crisis could erupt at any time if Trump fired Mueller. Knowing this, one would assume that Bloomberg made sure that it had the facts down cold before reporting that Mueller had “zeroed in” on the Trump.
This week, though, that would be a bad assumption. Bloomberg had to issue a correction earlier today and dash hopes (among some) for the impending Muellergeddon. The special counsel had subpoenaed Deutsche Bank, but the records related to Paul Manafort, not Trump:
Those records pertain to people affiliated with President Donald Trump, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the action hasn’t been announced. Several news outlets — including Bloomberg — reported yesterday that the subpoena targeted Trump and his family’s bank records, which was disputed by Trump’s personal lawyer and the White House.
“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’s lawyer John Dowd wrote in an email Dec. 5.
AFP reported late Dec. 5 that the subpoena was issued in connection with Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman who was indicted in October. Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni declined to comment.
So much for the big scoop. We already know that Mueller has targeted Manafort and his business partner Rick Gates, thanks to the long indictment that his office released and the multimillion-dollar bail arrangements for both defendants. Subpoenaing bank records for an already-indicted defendant in a money-laundering case barely qualifies as news at all, let alone a major development.
Bloomberg tries to pretty it up by first noting that the subpoenas “pertain to people affiliated with President Donald Trump,” but that’s nonsense as well. None of the counts in the Manafort indictment have anything to do with the Trump campaign or with the Russian-collusion investigation, except that Manafort was a potential target in that probe. For some weird reason, they also kept all of the reporting on Trump’s financial partnership with Deutsche Bank, even though they have corrected the main claim to note that the subpoenas have nothing to do with that partnership.
For the second time in a week, a major media outlet has blown its coverage of Trump with shoddy reporting and a lack of editorial oversight. The end result in both cases are false reports that unfairly painted Trump in a bad light, and in this case also did the same with Robert Mueller. When media outlets lament the fact that their consumers don’t trust them to tell the story correctly, we can refer them to these “scoops” of bupkis.
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