News & Politics

Fake News: ABC News Claims That Biden Probe Was a Precondition for Trump-Zelenksy Call

(Rex Features via AP Images)

Late Wednesday evening, ABC News reported that Serhiy Leshchenko,  an “advisor” to Ukrainian President Zelensky, claimed that discussing the Biden case was a precondition of him having communications with President Trump. “This issue was raised many times. I know that Ukrainian officials understood.” According to ABC News, “The Trump administration’s alleged insistence that the two leaders discuss a prospective investigation into Biden, one of the president’s political opponents, casts his July 25 conversation with Zelenskiy in a new light.”

Except it probably doesn’t. It turns out that Serhiy Leshchenko advised Zelensky’s transition team in April, but is no longer an advisor. ABC News added the following correction to their story:

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly described Serhiy Leshchenko as a current advisor to Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Leshchenko advised Zelenskiy’s transition team following his election in April but has since been distanced by the administration. He is no longer advising Zelenskiy.

The call at issue here took place in July, and Leshchenko had stopped advising Zelensky in the spring. The story further fell apart when Christopher Miller, a correspondent for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, reported that Leshchenko himself confirmed to him that he did not tell ABC News that discussing a Biden probe was a precondition for the call:

How exactly does a major media outlet get a story so consequential so wrong? Democrats are pushing forward with impeachment over this call, and ABC News is reporting an allegedly incriminatory allegation that, based on what we know now, is completely bogus. How many on the left will still believe it to be true?