CNN's Brian Stelter: Bret Baier's Report About FBI Clinton Foundation Investigation Was Irresponsible


BRIAN STELTER: Fox News [is] relying on anonymous sources inside the FBI and around the FBI to suggest that Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation are in imminent legal trouble. This report started on Wednesday. Really reflecting this divide, this war within the FBI. The initial report from Fox anchor Bret Baier was about the potential for indictments. Take a look at what he said on Wednesday.

BRET BAIER: We talked to two separate sources with intimate knowledge of what's going on with these FBI investigations. The investigations will continue. There is a lot of evidence and barring some obstruction in some way, they believe they will continue to likely an indictment.

STELTER: This lit up the internet. The "I" word indictment. Countless conservative blogs and websites ran with this. Some started fantasizing about Clinton behind bars, about serious legal peril for Clinton and for the Foundation. But then on Thursday, he seemed to walk it back a bit. Here is what Baier said on Thursday morning.

​BAIER: I want to be clear about this and this came from a Q&A that I did with Brit Hume after my show and after we went through everything. I got to the end of that and ​said ​they have a lot of evidence that would likely lead to an indictment. But that's not -- that's inartfully answered. ​That's not the process, that's not how you do it. ​

​STELTER: ​​This seemed ​more than just inartful ​language to me​. ​CNN's Evan Perez​, NBC, ABC​ ​all have said​ based​ on ​other ​anonymous sources​ that​ ​​there is no evidence ​that any ​of the Fox ​stuff is true. That there is nothing close to an indictment. In fact, it's pretty clear there's a battle inside the FBI. That's the real story here.

ALISYN ​CAMEROTA (CO-HOST): Well, I mean, Bret is a real journalist.​ ​He's not Sean Hannity who as we've discussed is a broadcaster who just fell for a fake news story and printed it out on his radio show.​ Bret is a real journalist. ​So does that clarification go far enough? Was it inartful ​or was it wrong?

​STELTER: ​ It seems like his use of the word indictment and use of the word likely was wrong. And unfortunately, you can't walk back something like that because the damage is already done.

CAMEROTA: He said it, and then all sorts of the echo chamber, all sorts of other news outlets, not just conservative -- RealClearPolitics and the Hill picked it up.

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