A top ally of President Trump who was at the center of a retracted CNN story again accepted the cable network’s apology Sunday, but said he was frustrated by the ordeal and the pervasive “politics of personal destruction” in Washington.
“It was definitely frustrating,” Anthony Scaramucci, a Wall Street investor recently appointed by Trump to the U.S. Export-Import Bank, told Fox News’ “MediaBuzz.”
CNN published a story June 22 on its website that purported congressional investigators were looking into a meeting between Scaramucci and Kirill Dmitriev, the head of a Russian investment fund, that took place days before Trump's inauguration.
Scaramucci said he warned CNN beforehand that its story was incorrect. He claimed he unexpectedly ran into Dmitriev, whom he had met before, while having a business dinner in Switzerland. He said they spoke for several minutes but that the conversation did not include talk of the United States lifting economic sanctions again Russia.
"We must have talked for three to five minutes at the table," Scaramucci told "Media Buzz" host Howard Kurtz.
Dmitriev is the chief executive officer of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, a business arm of the Kremlin.
Scaramucci said Sunday that CNN officials moved pretty quickly to take down the story after he further explained how the details were incorrect.
“They didn’t seem to do their homework. [I'm] trying to be fair and generous to them,” he said.
CNN retracted the online story the following day and apologized to Scaramucci.
On Monday, CNN accepted the resignations of three journalists involved in the story: author Thomas Frank, assistant managing editor Eric Lichtblau and investigations unit head Lex Harris.
However, Scaramucci acknowledged that he mentioned legal action as CNN executives wrestled over whether the story was completely incorrect the night of June 22.
Scaramucci said a photograph of him talking to Dmitriev apparently added to the speculation, as did a public suggestion by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., that Scaramucci discussed sanctions with Dmitriev.
“That was outrageous, an example of Scandal Inc. nonsense and the politics of personal destruction here,” he said. “I Don’t like it at all, to be candid.”