An internal investigation by CNN management found that some standard editorial processes were not followed when the article was published, people briefed on the results of the investigation said.
The story, which reported that Congress was investigating a "Russian investment fund with ties to Trump officials," cited a single anonymous source.
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.
The reporting about the Russian investment fund and Trump officials was not relayed on CNN's television channels, but it was published on the web and shared on social media.
Fast forward to this week, where the New York Times does get the CNN story correct and gives a whole lot more to add.
An adviser to the United Arab Emirates with ties to current and former aides to President Trump is cooperating with the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, and gave testimony last week to a grand jury, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Mr. Mueller appears to be examining the influence of foreign money on Mr. Trump’s political activities and has asked witnesses about the possibility that the adviser, George Nader, funneled money from the Emirates to the president’s political efforts. It is illegal for foreign entities to contribute to campaigns or for Americans to knowingly accept foreign money for political races.
Mr. Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman who advises Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the effective ruler of the Emirates, also attended a January 2017 meeting in the Seychelles that Mr. Mueller’s investigators have examined. The meeting, convened by the crown prince, brought together a Russian investor close to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia with Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater and an informal adviser to Mr. Trump’s team during the presidential transition, according to three people familiar with the meeting.
Mr. Nader’s cooperation in the special counsel’s investigation could prompt new legal risks for the Trump administration, and Mr. Nader’s presence at the Seychelles meeting appears to connect him to the primary focus of Mr. Mueller’s investigation: examining Russian interference during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Mr. Nader represented the crown prince in the three-way conversation in the Seychelles, at a hotel overlooking in the Indian Ocean, in the days before Mr. Trump took office. At the meeting, Emirati officials believed Mr. Prince was speaking for the Trump transition team, and a Russian fund manager, Kirill Dmitriev, represented Mr. Putin, according to several people familiar with the meeting. Mr. Nader, who grew close later to several advisers in the Trump White House, had once worked as a consultant to Blackwater, a private security firm now known as Academi. Mr. Nader introduced his former employer to the Russian.
Hey look, it's our old friend Erik Prince, Blackwater founder and brother of Trump Education Secretary Betsy DeVos! If the Times story seems familiar, that's because it should be. The CNN story that got retracted was really the other half of last year's Washington Post story from April on Prince attending this secret early January 2016 meeting with the Russians in the Seychelles.
Now we know who the UAE's broker was, George Nader...and he's cooperating with Mueller over possibly extremely illegal foreign campaign contributions to Trump. Kudos to the New York Times for putting these together.
Prince runs as a fixer for this meeting where money flows to Trump, and his sister ends up in Trump's cabinet. Oh, and Prince gets access to the Pentagon to sell his latest mercenary war scheme just as the drums of war start up for North Korea.
Now imagine what Mueller's team knows about Nader, Prince, and DeVos, folks. If Nader is getting a deal to talk to Mueller, the information he has is valuable to his investigation. That means it's high-level stuff, like say, the Russians sending money to Trump's campaign through the UAE, and expecting things in return.
You know, like conspiracy to collude with Moscow.
Somebody should remind Erik (and all the Trumpies for that matter) that Moscow ties up its loose ends with loose lips rather abruptly.
A former Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned by a nerve agent in England this week, the British authorities said on Wednesday, heightening suspicions that the episode was an assassination attempt by a national government, amid rampant speculation that Russia was responsible.
The development forces the British government to confront the possibility that once again, an attack on British soil was carried out by the government of President Vladimir V. Putin, which Western intelligence officials say has, with alarming frequency, ordered the killing of people who have crossed it.
In 2006, Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian agent who was harshly critical of Mr. Putin, was fatally poisoned in London with a rare radioactive metal; in 2016, an official inquiry concluded that he was murdered by Russian operatives, probably with Mr. Putin’s approval.
“This is being treated as a major incident involving attempted murder by administration of a nerve agent,” said Mark Rowley, Britain’s chief police official for counterterrorism and international security.