‘I should not have said it on air or posted it on Twitter. I was wrong to do so…’
O’Donnell, host of “The Last Word,” breathlessly reported Tuesday that he had evidence showing President Donald Trump obtained a loan through Deutcshe Bank that billionaire Russian oligarchs countersigned.
“That would explain, it seems to me, every kind word that Donald Trump has ever said about Russia and Vladimir Putin, if true, and I stress the ‘if true’ part of this,” O’Donnell said.
O’Donnell’s on-air caveat to cover his inept, single-source reporting didn’t go far enough to satisfy Trump.
“After the Trump family’s lawyers threatened to sue over the story, which they described as false and defamatory, O’Donnell retracted, saying it ‘did not go through the rigorous verification and standards process here at MSNBC before repeating.’ ” Newsweek reported.
“I should not have said it on air or posted it on Twitter. I was wrong to do so,” O’Donnell said during his show. “This afternoon, attorneys for the president sent us a letter asserting the story is false.”
USA Today reported Trump lawyer Charles Harder “called O’Donnell’s statements ‘false and defamatory, and extremely damaging’ in a letter sent to Susan Weiner, NBC Universal’s general counsel, and Daniel Kummer, the company’s senior vice president for litigation.”
Harder said Trump is the only guarantor for the loans, a fact that was publicly recorded and could be found by an online search, USA Today said.
Liberal network CNN, no stranger to airing false Russian collusion stories itself, questioned how O’Donnell’s reckless accusation was allowed to be broadcast by its rival.
“It’s not clear how O’Donnell’s reporting made it to air, given that NBC News was unable to verify his reporting,” CNN reported.
“Usually, at networks, journalists must clear anonymously sourced reports with the network before reporting them on-air or online — a process O’Donnell acknowledged he didn’t follow in his Wednesday tweet,” that report said.
An NBC and MSNBC spokesperson declined to comment how an unverified allegation was broadcast to a national audience.
CNN went on to note Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who investigated the Russian collusion hoax, included nothing like O’Donnell’s allegations in his final report.
“Just the latest and greatest of the collusion hoax stories that get widely spread as factual and, only later, quietly debunked as baseless,” U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, a Trump-supporting North Carolina Republican, wrote on Twitter.