MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell on Wednesday night addressed the thinly-sourced report he walked back earlier in the day after lawyers for President Donald Trump demanded an apology, retraction, and correction.
“Last night on this show I discussed information that wasn’t ready for reporting,” O’Donnell said at the top of The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell on Wednesday. “I repeated statements a single source told me about the president’s finances and loan documents with Deutsche Bank— saying ‘if true’ as I discussed the information was not good enough.”
“I did not go through the rigorous verification and standards process here at MSNBC before repeating what I heard from my source,” he continued. “Had it gone through that process I would not have been permitted to report it. I should not have said it on air or posted it on Twitter. I was wrong to do so.”
Addressing the letter from the president’s attorneys, O’Donnell noted that in response to their demands he is “retracting the story.”
“We don’t know whether the information is inaccurate,” the MSNBC host glumly stated. “But the fact is, we do know it wasn’t ready for broadcast, and for that, I apologize.”
At the beginning of his broadcast Tuesday evening, O’Donnell breathlessly claimed that a “single source close to Deutsche Bank” told him that documents showed Trump had received loans from the bank that had been co-signed by “Russian oligarchs” close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Later on in his program, O’Donnell said he wanted to “stress this is a single source” and that it hadn’t been confirmed by NBC News, adding that he hadn’t “seen any documentation from Deutsche Bank that supports this and verifies this.”
NBC News, meanwhile, noted on Wednesday morning that the MSNBC primetime host’s source “has not seen the bank records” and the network has “not yet been able to verify the reporting.”