Anthony Scaramucci, the former Trump adviser at the heart of a now-retracted CNN story, warned Thursday that media organizations everywhere need to “tighten up editorial standards” or risk their “integrity” – while calling the Russia collusion controversy “a bunch of nonsense.”
“Once you start to lose your integrity and your reputation as a news organization, people start to get tone deaf,” he told “Fox & Friends.”
Scaramucci was the subject of a CNN.com story that tried to draw a link between him and the Russian Direct Investment Fund, citing a January meeting with an official from the fund. The report cited a source claiming Scaramucci discussed the prospect of lifting U.S. sanctions.
CNN later retracted the story, and three journalists at the network resigned.
Scaramucci, who has since been named to the U.S. Export-Import Bank, said Thursday he merely had an encounter with the individual at a restaurant, but it was not a planned meeting.
He said he made clear to CNN that “the story was not accurate and that it was a defamatory story.” He added that he “didn't go to sue them or anything like that.”
The White House has since cited the report and retraction in stepping up its complaints about the media’s reporting on the controversy over Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible coordination with Trump associates.
Scaramucci said Thursday he wants to focus on the president’s agenda and called the Russia narrative “nonsense.”
“I worked on the transition. I think it’s a bunch of nonsense. I would like it to stop, certainly was nonsense related to me. It's probably nonsense related to others. And the big point about the whole thing is that the president has got a great agenda for all the American people,” he said.
In the retraction, the network said the story “did not meet CNN’s editorial standards.”