When a source tipped federal law enforcement reporter Michael Balsamo to be ready for something big on the Russia investigation, Balsamo went to work, convincing sources that AP was the best place to break the news. The result was a massive scoop on the case against Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser who had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.
Balsamo obtained exclusive access to court documents showing the case was being dropped, before they were even filed in court. Eric Tucker, AP’s Mueller investigation expert, snapped to work, drafting the story and pulling together details and information from other sources on how this case could have ended in such a spectacular and unusual way.
The AP exclusive forced virtually every major news outlet to use the story, including CNN. Even Trump proclaimed he didn’t know it was coming – and he’d been railing for weeks about the case, mulling whether to pardon Flynn. Tucker and Balsamo then followed up with a second-day story featuring exclusive reporting on how it happened, including that senior Justice Deptartment leaders felt “duty bound” to move for dismissal of the case.