CNN on Monday accepted the resignations of three journalists involved in a retracted story about a supposed investigation into a pre-inaugural meeting between an associate of US President Donald Trump and the head of a Russian investment fund.
The story was posted on the network’s Web site on Thursday and was removed, with all links disabled, on Friday night.
CNN immediately apologized to Anthony Scaramucci, the Trump transition team member who was reported to be involved in the meeting.
The story’s author, Thomas Frank, was among those who resigned, according to a network executive who requested anonymity.
Also losing their jobs were Eric Lichtblau, an assistant managing editor in CNN’s Washington bureau, and Lex Haris, head of the investigations unit.
CNN, in initially taking down the story, said it did not meet its editorial standards.
The episode is a damaging blow for a network even though the story never made it onto any of CNN’s television networks.
The story had been quickly questioned both internally and externally, including by the conservative site Breitbart News. It was determined that the story was posted without going through the expected checks and balances for a story of such sensitivity, the executive said.
The failure to follow proper procedures is what led to the resignations, the CNN executive said.
It is not immediately clear what in the story is factually incorrect, or whether CNN will continue to report on the issue.
The retracted story had said the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was looking into a Jan. 16 discussion between Scaramucci and Kirill Dmitriev, whose Russian Direct Investment Fund guides investments by US entities in Russia.
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