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ABC News on the Hastert story
Posted by: Jon Henke on Friday, May 26, 2006

ABC News is giving more details on their Hastert investigation story. While noting that the DoJ "issued two separate denials of our report that officials had told us Speaker Hastert was "in the mix" of the investigation into Congress", they add "here is what ABC News knows"...

  • "That the FBI interrogation of convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff included specific and repeated questions about his relationship with Speaker Hastert along with other members of Congress."


  • "That, although Hastert is not a formal target, the FBI has been looking into a letter Hastert and others sent to the Secretary of the Interior urging her to block an Indian casino that would have competed with casinos represented by Abramoff."


  • "That a few days before the letter was sent, Abramoff hosted a fundraiser for Hastert at a restaurant he owned."

As I read this, it seems that, by saying Hastert was "in the mix", ABC News was merely alleging that he was one of the people whose activity was being looked at, though the initial look had not (yet?) led to formal inclusion in an actual investigation. From that, I'd venture two guesses:

(1) With the news that the FBI now has 600 "agents working on public-integrity cases", it seems to me that ABC News could have written that story about virtually any DC politician.

(2) "In the mix" is not exactly actionable grounds for charges of "libel and defamation", as Hastert has threatened. If the FBI had even received complaints about the money Hastert received from Abramoff — and they have — or the fundraiser/letter coincidence, then it seems that Hastert would have been de facto "in the mix".

This seems to have been a thoroughly unremarkable story, which was exaggerated by both ABC News and Dennis Hastert to a thoroughly remarkable degree.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
The problem is that ABC’s original report didn’t stop at "in the mix". The original report said Hastert was "under investigation". Then, after they got caught, they re-wrote that part of the story without a note as to the change and then said there’s nothing wrong with their story.

If there was nothing wrong with it, why did you change it and hide the evidence?
 
Written By: SaveFarris
URL: http://
Hastert is a congressman so he is at least guilty by assocation. I would not be sad to see him frog walked out of the place.

That said, he did complain about the FBI search of congressional offices recently. I wish that I was sure the FBI wasn’t above "leaking" to shut him up. I also wonder if the extremely imperial executive branch is trying to make its wrath upon congress known.


 
Written By: cindyb
URL: http://
This is like CBS and Dan Rather. They should just admit their mistakes and move on. ABC’s World News led off with this story of Dennis Hastert under investigation, with George Stephanopoulos calling it "potentially seismic." They should check their facts before running false stories.

Ironically, the bigger story with congressman William Jefferson wasn’t mentioned till the end of news. Its called bias. You just can’t trust the media!
 
Written By: Ron
URL: http://
Absolutely right Ron! ABC threw a "drive-by" bomb and now they’re covering their backsides.
Meanwhile, Hastert has been painted as "corrupt". Do you think
ABC will lead their newcast with the story that Hastert has been cleared with any wrong-doing with Abramoff? Not likely.
 
Written By: steve
URL: http://
Hastert and Abramoff - do y’all seriously believe there was no Quid Pro Quo? No connection between the letter and the fund raiser? After almost 29 years in the USAF I can tell you that the USAF AFR 30-30 concerning influence is stringent enough so if I had gotten into a similar situation I would have had some really serious career-threatening questions to answer. Of course, Denny babes could have just been doing his duty . . . yeah, right.
Walt BJ
 
Written By: waltbj
URL: http://

 
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