MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell opened his show Wednesday night by apologizing for running an unverified report that directly tied President Trump’s finances to Russia.
“Last night on this show, I discussed information that wasn’t ready for reporting,” O’Donnell said. “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 simply 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. Had it gone through that process, I would not have been permitted to report it. I should not have said it on-air or post it on Twitter. I was wrong to do so.”
On Tuesday night, O’Donnell and fellow far-left MSNBC host Rachel Maddow discussed how Trump was “able to obtain loans when no one else would loan him any money” when he tossed out the unverified speculation.
“I may have some information, in this next hour, which would add a great deal to their understanding of that, if true, and I’ll be discussing it here,” O’Donnell said. “I stress ‘if true,’ because this is a single source who has told me that Deutsche Bank obtained tax returns… this single source close to Deutsche Bank has told me that Donald Trump’s loan documents there show that he has co-signers. That’s how he was able to obtain those loans and that the co-signers are Russian oligarchs.”
Rachel Maddow then leaned back in her chair acted stunned and responded, “What? Really?”
O’Donnell added “that would explain every kind word Donald Trump has ever said about Russia and Vladimir Putin” if his information is accurate.
The White House blasted the report, pointing to “left-wing outlets” that have “weaponized the media”:
The “Last Word” host and MSNBC were widely panned by critics for running the story, calling it “grossly irresponsible.”
“This is one of the reasons that a majority of Americans have lost trust in the media. Instead of applying ethics and standards to their reporting, journalists and left-wing outlets have weaponized the media, using it to attack and harass people with little to no regard for the truth,” White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham told Fox News.
O’Donnell took to Twitter earlier in the day and walked back the report, referring to it as an “error in judgment.”