His public pull-back unfolded quickly in the opening minute of "The Last Word", where 24 hours earlier the cable news host said that a source had told him that Deutsche Bank documents showed that Russian oligarchs had co-signed a loan application for Trump.
The MSNBC anchor cited a "source close to Deutsche Bank" for his reporting.
Lawrence O'Donnell of MSNBC issued a correction to statements he made live on air that he admitted at the time came from a single source and was not verified.
O'Donnell later said: "I stress "if true" again and repeated that the claim was sourced from a single person who he did not name.
O'Donnell later tweeted, "Last night I made an error in judgment by reporting an item about the president's finances that didn't go through our rigorous verification and standards process".
In response, on Wednesday morning an attorney for Trump, Charles Harder, sent the network a letter threatening to sue for defamation unless the story was retracted. "But the fact is, we do know it wasn't ready for broadcast, and for that I apologize".
When he initially reported on the supposed co-signing of the loans on Tuesday, O'Donnell said "that would explain, it seems to me, every kind word that Donald Trump has ever said about Russian Federation and Vladimir Putin, if true, and I stress the "if true" part of this".
"The only borrowers under these loans are Trump entities, and Mr. Trump is the only guarantor", More durable wrote. "I will address the issue on my show tonight".
He slammed the company, saying, "Numerous documents for each of these loans are also recorded, publicly available and searchable online".
"I have not seen any documentation from Deutsche Bank that supports this and verifies this".
'Thus, actual malice can easily be proven based on your reckless disregard of the truth and unreasonable reliance on an alleged "source" who you will not even identify in your story and likely is seeking to mislead you and the public for political reasons or other ulterior motives'.
On Twitter, Eric Trump called the report "a reckless attempt to slander our family and smear a great company".
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