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Mic Reporter Deletes Tweet Falsely Saying Accused Russian Spy Visited Trump’s Oval Office

It turns out it was a National Safety Council staffer

Emily Singer, a reporter for Mic.com, apologized on Tuesday for what she called a “serious error” in falsely tweeting that Maria Butina, a woman charged on Monday 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,” Singer said in a tweet that she quickly deleted that featured a 2017 photo of Trump meeting 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 — and issuing a public mea culpa. Mic declined to comment.

Mediaite has a screengrab of the original tweet.

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.