Tuesday, 17 July 2018 Emily Singer, a reporter for Mic.com, received a wave of criticism on Tuesday after tweeting that Maria Butina, a woman charged with spying on behalf of Russia in the United States, had been present with Donald Trump in the Oval Office.
“I thought this was a photoshop, but it’s not. This is Maria Butina — arrested for being a Russian spy — in the Oval Office with Trump,” said Singer, including a photo recalling the moment Trump met with Russia’s then-ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak and Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov.
But what would have been a bombshell revelation turned out not to be. The women Singer had in mind wasn’t Butina, but instead a National Safety Council staffer, most likely Cari Lutkins. After The Daily Beast’s Lachlan Markey and BuzzFeed’s Tom Namako weighed in that it definitely wasn’t Butina, Singer then cast doubt on her prior tweet before deleting it.
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Mediaite has a screengrab of the original tweet. Mic did not immediately respond to TheWrap for comment.
I've deleted the tweet. I cannot confirm that it is Butina and may be an NSC staffer. https://t.co/DIm1grRI9w
— Emily C. Singer (@CahnEmily) July 17, 2018
Even though Singer deleted the tweet, the (incorrect) news was being picked up by other outlets. Left-leaning blog DailyKos jumped all over it, reporting that not only was Butina there but that she was with her handler Alexander Torshin.
This photo is going around: That is not alleged Russian spy Maria Butina in the Oval Office With Trump. It’s an NSC staffer, a NSC source tells BuzzFeed News. pic.twitter.com/k1pDeIBZiK
— Tom Namako (@TomNamako) July 17, 2018
A fmr WH official tells me he thinks the person in this NYT photo is Cari Lutkins, the WH's deputy director of events, who plans logistics for events like these pic.twitter.com/NZJ0z7IUqt
— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) July 17, 2018
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