Three journalists for US broadcaster CNN have resigned over a retracted story alleging a meeting between an associate of Donald Trump and the head of a Russian investment fund.

The article was posted on the network’s website on Thursday but was removed, with all links disabled, the following evening.

CNN immediately apologised to Anthony Scaramucci, the Trump transition team member who was reported to be involved in the meeting before January’s inauguration.

The story’s author, Thomas Frank, was among those who resigned, alongside Eric Lichtblau, an assistant managing editor in CNN’s Washington bureau, and Lex Haris, head of the investigations unit.

CNN said the story did not meet its editorial standards.

The episode is a blow for a network that the US President has frequently derided as “fake news” and for a story that never made it on to any of CNN’s television networks.

An executive told the AP news agency the story was posted without going through the expected checks and balances.

It was not immediately clear what in the story was factually incorrect.

The retracted story had said the Senate intelligence committee was looking into a January 16 discussion between Mr Scaramucci and Kirill Dmitriev, whose Russian Direct Investment Fund guides investments by US entities in Russia.

Mr Scaramucci, in the story, said he exchanged pleasantries in a restaurant with Mr Dmitriev.

The report also said two Democratic senators wanted to know whether Mr Scaramucci had indicated in the meeting whether sanctions against Russia would be lifted, a decision that could affect the investment fund.

Following the retraction, Mr Scaramucci tweeted that CNN “did the right thing. Classy move.”

He added: “Apology accepted. Everyone makes mistakes. Moving on”.

In a statement to CNN’s Reliable Sources, Mr Haris noted that he had been with CNN since 2001 “and am sure about one thing: This is a news organisation that prizes accuracy and fairness above all else.

“I am leaving, but will carry those principles wherever I go”.

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