After CNN retracted a story about Russia and a top Trump adviser, the three journalists who worked on it are leaving the network.
CNN has been the center of controversy throughout the 2016 campaign, as well as the first months of the Trump presidency. Critics of the network, including President Trump, have labeled CNN as “fake news” because of their biased reporting.
Anthony Scaramucci, the Trump adviser who is the target of the story, said that he has no plans to sue. He said he has accepted CNN’s apology and wants to move on.
In an interview, Scaramucci also said, “I was disappointed the story was published. It was a lie.”
Executive editor of CNN’s investigative unit Lex Harris was the highest-ranking member to resign. Thomas Frank, who wrote the story, and Eric Lichtblau, who edited it, also turned in their resignations. Lichtblau is a highly regarded reporter who spent nearly a decade and a half at the New York Times.
The story made an attempt to draw a link between Scaramucci and the Russian Direct Investment Fund. Scaramucci was a Trump transition team member who has been nominated to an ambassadorial-level post based in Paris.
The CNN.com article said that in January, Scaramucci held a secret meeting with an official from the Russian fund. According to an unnamed source, Scaramucci discussed the possibility of lifting U.S. sanctions at the meeting.
But Scaramucci said there was no secret meeting. He said he had given a speech on Trump’s behalf at Davos, and fund official Kirill Dmitriev approached him in a restaurant to say hello and they had a brief conversation, with no discussion of sanctions.
In the retraction, the network said the story “did not meet CNN’s editorial standards.” The network is now requiring approval from two of their top editors before any Russia-related story can be published.