NEW YORK (AP) — NBC News corrected a story Thursday that said federal investigators had placed a wiretap on the phone lines of President Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, saying it subsequently learned that the feds were only monitoring the source of calls and weren’t listening in.
The correction gives ammunition to the nation’s highest-ranked media critic. Trump has frequently criticized the media for “fake news” involving stories he doesn’t like.
NBC moved its original story online shortly after 1 p.m. on Thursday, and it became immediate fodder on MSNBC and other cable networks. The correction was issued online at 5:27 p.m. with an editor’s note to the rewritten story, and was discussed on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press Daily.”
The network had attributed its original story to two anonymous sources with knowledge of the legal proceedings against Cohen. Tom Winter, one of NBC’s investigative reporters, said the sources have a track record of providing reliable information.
But NBC said that three senior U.S. officials – also not identified – had disputed the account. They said the phones were monitored by a pen register, which keeps a log of phone numbers on both ends of the conversation, but does not hear the audio.
“It’s still a very serious matter,” Winter told NBC colleague Chuck Todd, noting that a judge had to sign off on placement of the pen register.
ABC News tweeted that it had confirmed the original wiretap story. But it later sent a corrected tweet and deleted the old one.