Three CNN employees have resigned from the company for their role in pushing a botched Trump-Russia story that claimed a member of the Trump transition team was under investigation.
Reporter Thomas Frank, editor Eric Lichtblau and executive editor Lex Haris all resigned from their positions following a company-wide investigation into the single-sourced story that was quickly debunked, The Washington Post first reported. CNN quickly followed up with a story of their own on the resignations. Lichtblau reportedly oversaw the false story, while Haris headed up CNN’s investigative unit.
“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’s coverage quotes a company spokesman as saying.
The retracted story, which relied upon a single unnamed congressional source, claimed that Senate investigators were probing Trump adviser Anthony Scaramucci and whether or not he discussed lifting sanctions during a meeting with a Russian banker just days before Trump’s inauguration. CNN later retracted the story and apologized to Scaramucci. (RELATED: CNN Retracts Story About Trump Adviser Being Under Investigation For Russia Ties)
Lichtblau had recently joined CNN from The New York Times, where he often relied upon unnamed current and former government sources when writing about Russia’s election-related hacking. The botched Scaramucci story was the second botched Trump-Russia story this month in which Lichtblau had played a role.
Earlier this month, CNN was forced to correct and rewrite an article by four writers, including Lichtblau, that relied upon anonymous sources claiming that former FBI director James Comey would refute Trump’s assertion that Comey had assured the president that he was not under FBI investigation. Comey’s testimony confirmed, rather than refuted, Trump’s account.
CNN reportedly imposed new rules on the company’s Russia coverage in the wake of the botched Scaramucci story.
The network has had an oftentimes adversarial relationship with President Trump, who has called CNN “fake news,” “very fake news” and the “Clinton News Network.” (RELATED: CNN Reporter Complains About Being Blackballed After Spending Press Briefing Interrupting Spicer)