On Thursday evening, CNN investigative reporter Thomas Frank published a potentially explosive report involving an investigation of a Russian investment fund with potential ties to several associates of President Donald Trump.
But by Friday night, the story was removed from CNN’s website and all links were scrubbed from the network’s social media accounts.
“That story did not meet CNN’s editorial standards and has been retracted,” CNN said in an editors note posted in place of the story. “Links to the story have been disabled.”
Neither Frank or CNN immediately responded to requests for comment, and a spokesperson for the Senate Intelligence Committee wasn’t available to comment.
Frank, a Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist, had 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.”
In addition to retracting its story, 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.
According to the report, the meeting between Scarmucci and Dmitriev could have included the issue of sanctions being lifted, but a spokesperson for the RDIF told Sputnik News, a state-run Russian news channel, that the fund is not a part of Vnesheconombank.
“RDIF always operates in full compliance with relevant regulations and legislation and its operations do not violate sanctions,” the spokesperson said.
Multiple news outlets have reported on the meeting, which took place at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland just four days before Trump’s inauguration. As Bloomberg noted, it was “the first public contact between the incoming administration and Kremlin-backed business.”
Scaramucci weighed in on Twitter Saturday morning about the network’s decision to pull the story, calling it a “classy move.”
CNN’s retraction comes about a month after Fox News was also forced to pull a potentially explosive political story involving the death of former Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich.
Rich was shot to death in Washington, D.C., on the morning of July 10, 2016. Local police said the crime was likely a botched robbery, but that hasn’t stopped figures like Sean Hannity and former Republican House speaker Newt Gingrich from suggesting Rich was murdered for leaking DNC emails to Wikileaks.