Major network reprimands producer outed for being pro-Trump in new book


Former Trump campaign officials Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie are currently promoting a new book they wrote which reveals that an ABC News producer gave Donald Trump’s presidential campaign proprietary exit polling data on election night last year.

In “Let Trump Be Trump,” Lewandowski and Bossie tell how Chris Vlasto — then-executive producer of “Good Morning America,” now senior executive producer for investigative reporting — called Bossie, Trump’s deputy campaign manager, at 5:01 p.m. on election night with information that suggested he was going to lose the election.

“Vlasto had the early exit numbers that the consortium of news networks — the Associated Press, ABC News, CBS News, CNN, Fox News, and NBC News — had collected,” they write. “The consortium followed eleven battleground states, including Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania. Trump was down in eight of the eleven states by five to eight points. The news was devastating. A kill shot.”

Lewandowski and Bossie described Vlasto’s exchange with Bossie in the early evening phone call that predicted defeat:

“Are you sitting down?” Vlasto asked.

“Oh boy,” Dave said. “This can’t be good.”

“No, it’s not. You guys are in for a long night.”

Bossie, by his and Lewandowski’s account, wrote down the numbers provided by Vlasto and read them to Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus and Jared Kushner, the latter of whom called his father-in-law with the news. According to the book, Trump told wife Melania: “Jared says we’re going to lose.”

Politico published a report on Tuesday, noting, “Vlasto should not have been providing such detailed information to people outside the group, which spends millions of dollars on exit polling and shares the information on Election Day.”

The report explains that “representatives from the AP and TV networks crunch the numbers under strict quarantine until 5 p.m. on election night, at which time they can share the data with other members of their own organizations involved in coverage. News organizations involved in the consortium typically warn staffers not to provide specific, exit poll numbers to outsiders, especially given that the polls are still open.”

“When we found out about this, we asked him about it,” an ABC News spokesperson told the news publication. “He admitted it and was reprimanded.”

ABC News’ investigative division is already reeling from the Saturday suspension of chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross.

On Friday, Ross contributed to the “fake news” problem by wrongly reporting that during the campaign, Trump told Michael Flynn to make contact with the Russians. Vlasto moved into the position of ABC News’ senior executive producer for investigative reporting in June 2017 and was tasked with “setting the priorities for our investigative reporting by combining the forces of our powerhouse teams” in Washington and New York, the latter which is co-led by Ross, according to the report.

Bossie reveals in the book that he has known Vlasto for decades, going back to when he was a Republican House investigator in the 1990s and Vlasto was covering the Clinton Whitewater investigations.

The book further states that Vlasto was considered for a senior communications position in the Trump White House in the weeks after the election, before pulling himself out of consideration.

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