President Donald Trump starting tweeting just before 7 a.m. on Saturday to herald the historic low unemployment rate for black Americans. He tweeted: “The African American unemployment rate fell to 6.8%, the lowest rate in 45 years. I am so happy about this News! And, in the Washington Post (of all places), headline states, ‘Trumps first year jobs numbers were very, very good.’”

Then, just a few minutes later, Trump launched a blistering attack on ABC reporter Brian Ross, who had issued an erroneous report for which he was suspended from the network for 30 days. The President tweeted, “Brian Ross, the reporter who made a fraudulent live newscast about me that drove the Stock Market down 350 points (billions of dollars), was suspended for a month but is now back at ABC NEWS in a lower capacity.” Trump added, “He is no longer allowed to report on Trump. Should have been fired!”

Addressing reports that questioned his mental acuity, Trump alluded to the as yet uncorroborated reports of collusion between his electoral campaign and Russia and wrote on Twitter:

“Now that Russian collusion, after one year of intense study, has proven to be a total hoax on the American public, the Democrats and their lapdogs, the Fake News Mainstream Media, are taking out the old Ronald Reagan playbook and screaming mental stability and intelligence.”

 

In another tweet, the president wrote, “Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart. Crooked Hillary Clinton also played these cards very hard and, as everyone knows, went down in flames. I went from VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star to President of the United States (on my first try). I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius....and a very stable genius at that!”

ABC News demoted Brian Ross, who had been the network's chief investigative correspondent. Ross had botched an "exclusive” report on President Trump and Russia. ABC News President James Goldston announced to ABC personnel on Friday that Ross would be reassigned to Lincoln Square Production, an outside production house owned by Disney.

Ross had been expected to return from a month-long unpaid suspension on Thursday, but will not resume his previous role. While he may retain his title of “chief investigative correspondent,” it is not likely that Ross will be seen on air at ABC. 

Lincoln Square Productions is separate from the rest of ABC News and creates unscripted programming for ABC and cable channels such as Discovery Life, and Investigation Discovery. Lincoln Square Productions does little so-called “hard news,” and is thus a poor fit for a veteran investigative reporter such as Ross. There is speculation that Ross has been sent to Lincoln Square in order to wind down his contract with ABC News. However, staff attached to Ross are not expected to lose their jobs. Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl and Senior Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas are expected to take up the work that would have assigned to Ross, especially anything dealing with President Trump or the Mueller investigation. Last month, ABC News president Goldston told staff in December that Ross would never again be allowed to cover President Trump.

During a live "special report" on December 1, reporter Ross reported that former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn would testify that President Trump had ordered him to contact with Russians about foreign policy during the presidential campaign. When the report raised rumors of a proximate impeachment of the president, the stock market plummeted. ABC issued a "clarification" to Ross's report, saying that the president's alleged directive came after the election. Ross himself appeared on "World News Tonight," several hours after the initial report, to clarify his error.

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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