Three CNN Employees Resign Over Retracted Russia Story

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https://www.buzzfeed.com/stevenperlberg/three-cnn-employees-resign-over-retracted-russia-story?utm_term=.nllaBZJwa#.mvdNgwBAN

Three CNN Employees Resign Over Retracted Russia Story
Thomas Frank, Eric Lichtblau, and Lex Haris have resigned in the wake of the story.

Posted on June 26, 2017, at 6:44 p.m.
Steven Perlberg
BuzzFeed News Reporter

Jason Kempin / Getty Images
Three CNN employees have resigned in the wake of the news outlet’s retracted Russia story.

Thomas Frank, the reporter who wrote the story; Eric Lichtblau, who recently joined CNN from the New York Times; and CNN Investigates executive editor Lex Haris have left the news outlet. The Washington Post first reported the resignations, which a CNN source confirmed to BuzzFeed News.

“In the aftermath of the retraction of a story published on CNN.com, CNN has accepted the resignations of the employees involved in the story’s publication,” CNN said in a statement.

The deleted story, which cited a single unnamed source, claimed that the Senate Intelligence Committee was eyeing a “$10 billion Russian investment fund whose chief executive met with a member of President Donald Trump’s transition team four days before Trump’s inauguration.”

The story, written by investigative reporter Frank, was posted on Thursday and deleted late Friday. More than an hour after BuzzFeed News contacted CNN about the deletion, an editor’s note appeared on CNN website saying that the story “did not meet CNN’s editorial standards and has been retracted.”

The note also apologized to Anthony Scaramucci, a member of Trump’s orbit who had been named in the story (and who later tweeted that the apology was accepted).

The retraction sent CNN scrambling to deal with the fallout over the weekend, even within parts of the news operation that weren’t involved in the retracted report. On Saturday, CNNMoney executive editor Rich Barbieri sent a note to staffers saying that nobody should publish any content involving Russia without coming first to him and another CNN vice president, according to the email, which was obtained by BuzzFeed News.

Sources close to the network said that CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker was involved with the internal investigation into the story’s handling.

Steven Perlberg is a media and politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. His PGP fingerprint is 0ACB FA3B AC49 D43C 79C4 8DE5 3C06 7521 F4EC 3AA5

Contact Steven Perlberg at steven.perlberg@buzzfeed.com.

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