Trump censures CNN’s ‘phony stories’ as 3 are dismissed over Russia story
US President Donald Trump has decried “phony stories” by American television news channel CNN in the aftermath of the dismissal of three employees over a news story about an investigation into Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
“Wow, CNN had to retract big story on ‘Russia,’ with 3 employees forced to resign,” Trump said in a tweet on Tuesday. “What about all the other phony stories they do? FAKE NEWS!”
On Friday, the news organization retracted a story about alleged ties between Anthony Scaramuccia, a Trump ally, and a Russian investment fund managed by a Kremlin-controlled bank, arguing that it “did not meet CNN’s editorial standards.”
According to the deleted story, the US Senate is investigating ties between Scaramucci and the fund.
Earlier in the day, the president also retweeted a modified image of the network’s logo, referring to it as FNN, or the Fake News Network rather than the Cable News Network, CNN.
After the retraction, the network reported that Thomas Frank, the author of the story, Eric Lichtblau, an editor in the CNN investigative unit that ran the story, and Lex Haris, who oversaw the unit, have all left CNN.
“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,” a spokesman said Monday.
CNNMoney executive editor Rich Barbieri sent out an email Saturday, obtained and released Sunday by BuzzFeed News, dictating strict rules in regard to publishing stories “involving” Russia.
In a declassified report released in January, the intelligence community concluded that Russia helped with the New York billionaire’s campaign effort ahead of winning the White House in the 2016 election.
The allegation triggered probes into the matter by the US Senate, House of Representatives and the FBI.
Both Trump and the Kremlin have rejected allegations of meddling and collusion during the 2016 campaign and transition.
Since the 2016 campaign, Trump has repeatedly used the term “fake news” largely for any coverage criticizing him or his allies.