UPDATE 10:32 a.m. ABC News has issued a partial correction to its story:
A significant correction on ABC’s story. There is no reason for mistakes like this to happen unless you’re rushing out a story. pic.twitter.com/IHbPLZMweJ
— Yashar Ali ? (@yashar) September 26, 2019
But as you see in our original post, journos are reporting that ABC News is misquoting Leshchenko.
ABC News reported last night that Serhiy Leshchenko, “an adviser to” Ukrainian President Zelensky, said it was understood by Ukrainian officials that a “discussion of Biden probe was a condition for” any phone call with President Trump:
Ukrainian officials understood discussion of Biden probe was a condition for any phone call between Pres. Trump and Ukrainian Pres. Zelenskiy, an adviser to Zelenskiy tells @ABC News. https://t.co/p5P4AriDWC
— ABC News (@ABC) September 26, 2019
From ABC News:
“It was clear that [President Donald] Trump will only have communications if they will discuss the Biden case,” said Serhiy Leshchenko, an anti-corruption advocate and former member of Ukraine’s Parliament, who had been a former adviser to Zelenskiy but has recently been distanced from the administration. “This issue was raised many times. I know that Ukrainian officials understood.”
But experts are warning to not “take this as the gospel truth.” From Nina Jankowicz, The Wilson Center:
Sorry to be the party pooper on this Ukraine scoop, but I wouldn’t take this as the gospel truth.
Leshchenko served as an adviser to the Zelenskyy camp but holds no formal role in the admin, which has distanced itself from him since the spring. https://t.co/OSY2JNU4ry
— Nina Jankowicz (@wiczipedia) September 26, 2019
And The Economist’s Arkady Ostrovsky points out that he’s a former adviser, something which ABC News gets wrong in its tweet but correct in the body of the article. Former adviser vs. current adviser is a big difference:
Except that Leshchenko is not an advisor to the president.
— Arkady Ostrovsky (@ArkadyOstrovsky) September 26, 2019
And Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Christopher Miller says Leshchenko “DID NOT tell ABC insistence for leaders to discuss Biden probe was precondition for call”:
Setting record straight: @Leshchenkos confirmed to me what those of us in Kyiv already knew—he is NOT currently an advisor to Ukraine's Zelenskiy & wasn't at time of July 25 call. He said he DID NOT tell ABC insistence for leaders to discuss Biden probe was precondition for call. https://t.co/fNh5sMYj9i
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) September 26, 2019
According to the BBC’s Jonah Fisher, he learned of this through media reports:
Leshchenko is no longer a Zelensky adviser or Ukrainian official. Rudy Giuliani forced him out of the presidents inner circle.
I spoke to him yesterday – he said something similar re “quid pro quo” but said he’d learnt it only from media reports. https://t.co/N6rzVPjmRX
— Jonah Fisher (@JonahFisherBBC) September 26, 2019
FFS, media. We’re talking impeachment here and you guys can’t get this one right?
Editor’s note: This post has been updated.