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A protest group called "Hot Mess" holds up signs of Jeffrey Epstein in front of a New York federal courthouse. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

ABC News anchor Amy Robach was caught on a hot mic claiming that her network suppressed a bombshell sex trafficking story about Jeffrey Epstein three years ago, according to a video published by right-wing activist group Project Veritas.

The big picture: Project Veritas has been criticized for producing deceptively edited videos that target mainstream media and liberal organizations. However, Robach did not deny the accuracy of the video and said in a statement that she was "caught in a private moment of frustration" after an interview she conducted with one of Epstein's accusers was not aired due to a lack of "sufficient corroborating evidence."

What they're saying:

  • Robach: "As a journalist, as the Epstein story continued to unfold last summer, I was caught in a private moment of frustration. I was upset that an important interview I had conducted with Virginia Roberts didn't air because we could not obtain sufficient corroborating evidence to meet ABC's editorial standards about her allegations. My comments about Prince Andrew and her allegation that she had seen Bill Clinton on Epstein's private island were in reference to what Virginia Roberts said in that interview in 2015. I was referencing her allegations — not what ABC News had verified through our reporting. The interview itself, while I was disappointed that it didn't air, didn't meet our standards. In the years since no one ever told me or the team to stop reporting on Jeffrey Epstein, and we have continued to aggressively pursue this important story."
  • ABC News: "At the time, not all of our reporting met our standards to air, but we have never stopped investigating the story. Ever since we've had a team on this investigation and substantial resources dedicated to it. That work has led to a two-hour documentary and 6-part podcast that will air in the new year."

Between the lines: The Robach video comes in the wake of claims by journalist Ronan Farrow that NBC News suppressed his reporting on allegations of sexual abuse by Harvey Weinstein, a powerful film mogul with extensive media connections. NBC News has denied Farrow's allegations.

Go deeper: NBC News president calls Farrow cover-up allegations a "smear" in staff memo

Editor's note: NBC is an investor in Axios and Andy Lack, chairman of NBC News and MSNBC, is a member of the Axios board of directors.

Go deeper

Senate confirms retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as defense secretary

Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

The Senate voted 93-2 on Friday to confirm retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as secretary of defense. Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) were the sole "no" votes.

Why it matters: Austin is the first Black American to lead the Pentagon and President Biden's second Cabinet nominee to be confirmed.

House will transmit article of impeachment to Senate on Monday, Schumer says

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that the House will deliver the article of impeachment against former President Trump for "incitement of insurrection" on Monday.

Why it matters: The Senate is required to begin the impeachment trial at 1pm the day after the article is transmitted.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Private equity bets on delayed tax reform in Biden administration

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

In normal times, private equity would be nervous about Democratic Party control of both the White House and Congress. But in pandemic-consumed 2021, the industry seems sanguine.

Driving the news: Industry executives and lobbyists paid very close attention to Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen's confirmation hearings this week, and came away convinced that tax reform isn't on the near-term agenda.