Trump renews attack on ‘Fake News CNN’ after retraction


President Trump has repeatedly lashed out with insults to defend himself as the Russia investigation unfolds. His latest attacks on Twitter appear to confirm he’s being investigated for obstruction of justice. (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)

President Trump resumed beating his “fake news!” drum Tuesday, going off on CNN after the network retracted a story about alleged ties between Trump’s allies and Russia. Three CNN journalists who had been involved in the story resigned after the retraction.

Trump, whose presidency has been hindered by persistent allegations of his campaign’s inappropriate ties to the Russian government, lashed out at CNN in a series of tweets early Tuesday morning, insinuating that there were other stories that merited retracting.

“What about all the other phony stories they do? FAKE NEWS!” he wrote.

About two hours later, Trump continued, tweeting without evidence that CNN was “looking at big management changes” in the wake of the retraction and that its ratings were “way down!”

A CNN Twitter account disputed the latter in a reply to the president.

A representative for the network did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday morning.

Trump also called out several other television networks — except for Fox News — as well as the New York Times and The Washington Post, and wondered when they, too, would be “caught.”

“They are all Fake News!” the president charged.

Trump has long had an antagonistic relationship with CNN, frequently targeting the network in his tweets and describing it as everything from “unwatchable” to “the worst.” In February, Trump lumped the network in with many other media outlets that he dubbed “the enemy of the American People!

The CNN story in question was removed from CNN.com last week and replaced with an editor’s note that explained: “On June 22, 2017, CNN.com published a story connecting Anthony Scaramucci with investigations into the Russian Direct Investment Fund. That story did not meet CNN’s editorial standards and has been retracted. Links to the story have been disabled. CNN apologizes to Mr. Scaramucci.”

Over the weekend, Scaramucci tweeted that he accepted CNN’s apology and would be moving on.

Despite that, the network accepted the resignations Monday of reporter Thomas Frank and “CNN Investigates” editors Eric Lichtblau and Lex Haris. The story — which cited a single anonymous source and stated a “Russian investment fund with ties to Trump officials” was under investigation by Congress — did not follow some standard editorial processes during its preparation, according to CNN’s Brian Stelter:

These types of stories are typically reviewed by several departments within CNN — including fact-checkers, journalism standards experts and lawyers — before publication.

This breakdown in editorial workflow disturbed the CNN executives who learned about it.

In a staff meeting Monday afternoon, investigative unit members were told that the retraction did not mean the facts of the story were necessarily wrong. Rather, it meant that “the story wasn’t solid enough to publish as-is,” one of the people briefed on the investigation said.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer got into a heated exchange with reporters on May 30. Spicer said he and President Trump are “frustrated” with “patently false” news stories. (Reuters)

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