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CNN Deletes and Retracts Story Linking Trump and Russia

June 26th 2017


CNN is making changes in how it handles stories involving Donald Trump’s potential connections to Russia after the network deleted and retracted a report about a Russian investment fund’s potential ties to several associates of the president.

“No one should publish any content involving Russia without coming to me and Jason first,” CNNMoney executive editor Rich Barbieri said in an email to staff over the weekend, referring to Jason Farkas, a CNN vice president. BuzzFeed was first to report on the email, which said the changes will apply “to social, video, editorial, and MoneyStream. No exceptions.”

So far, CNN hasn’t offered any details why the report was pulled. Brian Stelter, host of the network’s Reliable Sources Sunday show which covers the intersection of media and politics, said in his daily newsletter he had questions about the incident.

“The truth is, there’s still a lot we don’t know,” Stelter wrote. “On Saturday and Sunday I asked CNN PR for details and comment. A network spokeswoman declined to comment as of Sunday evening.” CNN has also not responded to multiple requests for comment from us.

CNN’s ‘Reliable Sources’ host Brian Stelter regularly calls out the Trump administration’s dealings with the press.

The move to tighten rules surrounding stories involving Trump and Russia comes after the network removed a story written by investigative reporter Thomas Frank, a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2010 while at USA Today. Frank’s story reported that the Senate Intelligence Committee was investigating 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.”

CNN also apologized to Anthony Scaramucci, an adviser to Trump during the presidential campaign and a member of his transition team’s executive committee, who was mentioned in the story as having met Kirill Dmitriev, the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) that the network said is overseen by Vnesheconombank, a state-run bank that is currently under U.S. sanctions. A spokesperson for the RDIF told Sputnik News, a state-run Russian news channel, that the fund is not a part of the bank.

Scaramucci weighed in on Twitter Saturday morning about the network’s decision to pull the story, calling it a “classy move.”

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