Mr. Zucker helped lead an internal inquiry that found the story was published despite concerns expressed by CNN’s standards team, the people said. Thomas Frank, a veteran reporter who wrote the story; Lex Haris, executive editor of investigations; and Eric Lichtblau, an investigative editor and reporter hired from The New York Times in April, submitted resignations on Monday morning.
It was the latest in a series of embarrassing episodes at CNN. The network fired Kathy Griffin, a host of its New Year’s Eve special, after she published a photograph in which she appeared to brandish a facsimile of Mr. Trump’s severed head. It cut ties with the host Reza Aslan after he assailed Mr. Trump in vulgar Twitter posts. And it issued a correction on another story that inaccurately predicted the congressional testimony of James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director.
By Monday night, some critics of CNN had already seized on the news. “Fake News Blues,” blared a headline on the right-wing website Breitbart News.
CNN’s investigative work has won plaudits this year, and the network had highlighted the hiring of marquee journalists as a sign of its commitment to reporting.
CNN’s aggressive reporting has been a regular thorn in the Trump administration’s side, with Mr. Trump criticizing Mr. Zucker by name at a West Wing news conference. Last week, the reporter Jim Acosta launched a broadside against Mr. Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, for limiting television coverage of briefings; on Friday, the network sent a courtroom sketch artist to document Mr. Spicer’s appearance.
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