“Almost entirely wrong”

On February 14 the New York Times published a story by Michael Schmidt, Mark Mazzetti and Matt Apuzzo with reporting contributed by Adam Goldman and Matthew Rosenberg. The story was headlined “Trump campaign aides had repeated contact with Russian intelligence.” The usual “current and former officials” make their cameo appearance when the Times is disclosing, or purporting to disclose, highly classified information.

These were the story’s lead paragraphs:

Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.

American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election.

In paragraph three they let on: “The officials interviewed in recent weeks said that, so far, they had seen no evidence of such cooperation.”

In the course of his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee today former FBI Director Comey bluntly acknowledged in response to Senator Cotton’s question that this story was “almost entirely wrong.” I’m guessing that paragraph three accounts for the qualification of this assessment.

The Times has previously posted two corrections to the story. They’re the kind of hilariously niggling corrections that leave the implication everything else was just right:

Correction: February 14, 2017
An earlier version of this article misstated the number of people (in addition to Paul Manafort) whom the F.B.I. has examined. It is at least three, not at least four.

Correction: February 19, 2017
An earlier version of a photo caption with this article gave an incorrect middle initial for Paul Manafort. It is J., not D.

Now the Times tells us that they’re looking into the story. It would be a shame if this concession were to get lost in the foofaraw over the rest of Comey’s testimony today.

Here is the video excerpt of relevant parts of Comey’s testimony preceding Comey’s concession to Senator Cotton.

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