NEW YORK (AP) — Fox News Channel apologized Friday for an inaccurate report this week that Hillary Clinton would likely be indicted as a result of an investigation by the FBI into the Clinton Foundation.
Fox’s Bret Baier, who initially reported on the case Wednesday, said Friday that “it was a mistake, and for that I’m sorry.”
Clinton’s critics have accused her family of giving donors special access to the State Department when Clinton was secretary of state.
The Associated Press reported this week that FBI agents seeking an investigation into the foundation talked to Justice Department lawyers last winter about allegations they wanted to pursue, but prosecutors were wary about the strength of the information they presented. It’s unclear whether FBI agents are still looking into the foundation.
Fox’s report, less than a week before Election Day, was a potential bombshell — if it held up.
Baier began walking back his report the next day, saying that his phrasing had been inartful. “Well, that wasn’t just inartful, it was a mistake,” he said Friday.
“Indictment obviously is a very loaded word … especially in this atmosphere, and no one knows if there would or would not be an indictment no matter how strong investigators feel their evidence is,” he said. Baier hasn’t identified the sources for his original report.
Baier also said in his original report that his sources believed with “a 99 percent accuracy” that Clinton’s email server had been hacked by at least five foreign intelligence agencies.
He said Friday that he had one source for that information, and that while others believe that is probable, “there are still no digital fingerprints of a breach no matter what the working assumption is within the bureau.”
“On a topic this explosive every word matters, no matter how well-sourced,” Baier said.
The meeting in February about the Clinton Foundation came after the book “Clinton Cash” by Republican political consultant Peter Schweizer was published, alleging that foreign governments donating to the foundation received favors at the State Department while Clinton was secretary. The State Department hasn’t found any ethics violations involving the foundation while Clinton was there.
Associated Press correspondent Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.