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C-SPAN places Steve Scully on administrative leave after false claim about debate tweet

Biden, Trump to host competing town halls
President Trump, Democratic nominee Joe Biden prepare for competing town halls 02:08

C-SPAN has suspended its political editor Steve Scully, who was supposed to moderate the second presidential debate that was originally scheduled for Thursday. When a tweet went out on Scully's account asking advice from former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, Scully claimed he was hacked after a backlash. 

But Scully admitted Thursday the hacking claim was false, and he apologized for his actions in a statement. The debate was canceled after the Commission on Presidential Debate unilaterally decided it should be virtual, and Mr. Trump balked. 

"For several weeks, I was subjected to relentless criticism on social media and in conservative news outlets regarding my role as moderator for the second presidential debate, including attacks aimed directly at my family," Scully said, referencing criticism for his onetime internship with former Vice President Joe Biden as a young man. "This culminated on Thursday, October 8th, when I heard President Trump go on national television twice and falsely attack me by name. Out of frustration, I sent a brief tweet addressed to Anthony Scaramucci. The next morning when I saw that this tweet had created a new controversy, I falsely claimed that my Twitter account had been hacked. These were both errors in judgment for which I am totally responsible. I apologize." 

C-SPAN said Scully had not been forthcoming with them.

"Steve Scully made us and the commission aware of this new information late Wednesday (10/14). By not being immediately forthcoming to C-SPAN and the commission about his tweet, he understands that he made a serious mistake. We were very saddened by this news and do not condone his actions. During his 30 years at C-SPAN, Steve consistently demonstrated his fairness and professionalism as a journalist. ... Starting immediately we have placed Steve on administrative leave. After some distance from this episode, we believe in his ability to continue to contribute to C-SPAN." 

Mr. Trump seized on the news.

"I was right again! Steve Scully just admitted he was lying about his Twitter being hacked. The Debate was Rigged! He was suspended from @cspan indefinitely. The Trump Campaign was not treated fairly by the "Commission". Did I show good instincts in being the first to know?" he tweeted

After Thursday's debate was canceled, Mr. Trump and Biden will participate in dueling town halls on Thursday night, with BIden in Philadelphia and Mr. Trump in Miami. 

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