MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell admits he made an 'error in judgment' in story about Trump and Russian oligarchs
MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell is backing away from a bombshell report he dropped late Tuesday night about alleged financial ties between President Donald Trump and Russian oligarchs.
On Twitter Wednesday afternoon, the host posted the following statement:
Last night I made an error in judgment by reporting an item about the president’s finances that didn’t go through o… https://t.co/boKi7CtD8s— Lawrence O'Donnell (@Lawrence O'Donnell)1567021997.0
The story had alleged that Trump's loans from Deutsche Bank had been cosigned by Russian oligarchs, citing a single anonymous source. The idea that Trump would have been financially indebted to wealthy Russians with ties to the Kremlin indeed would have been a groundbreaking story, and some had speculated that it could ramp up calls for Trump's impeachment.
But because the report didn't come from the usual venue for such information — such as, say, a story in the New York Times with multiple sources and reporters who had seen the relevant documents — even many observers critical of Trump were hesitant to accept the veracity of O'Donnell's report. And earlier on Wednesday, Trump's lawyer issued a letter demanding O'Donnell retract and apologize for the claims, calling them "false and defamatory."
Now, it appears the host is backing down.