Hastert Fights Back Against ABC News Report

ByABC News
May 25, 2006, 5:59 PM

May 25, 2006 — -- ABC News' story about Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert set off a wave of reaction from Chicago talk radio to the wells of the Capitol. There it seems to have added fuel to the fire in the dispute between the executive branch and Congress.

The Department of Justice issued two separate denials of our report that officials had told us Speaker Hastert was "in the mix" of the investigation into Congress.

The speaker and his colleagues suggested the FBI was out to get him with a bogus story.

As he gaveled the House to order this morning, Hastert was praised, and ABC News was denounced by his Republican colleagues.

"This is a case of sensationalism over reporting," said Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga.

Congressman Lee Terry, a Republican from Nebraska, said, "This non-credible journalism I think degrades freedom of speech and the reputation of journalists."

On WGN Radio in Chicago, Hastert said the story was a leak planted by the FBI to intimidate him.

"It's just not true, you know, the Justice Department said there is no investigation, and this is one of the leaks that come out to try to, you know, intimidate people, and we're just not gonna be intimidated on it," he said.

As for the facts of ABC News' story itself, this is what we've confirmed today:

The Speaker today said the letter repeated long-held views about certain Indian casino rules.