Eric Trump Vows to Take Legal Action Against MSNBC for ‘Reckless Attempt to Slander Family’

August 29, 2019 Updated: August 29, 2019

President Donald Trump’s son Eric Trump said that the Trump Organization will take legal action against MSNBC and host Lawrence O’Donnell after the host’s “reckless” reporting on the air of information he admitted was unverified.

O’Donnell said Aug. 28 he was wrong to report the information in a written statement and later added a retraction and general apology.

Eric Trump, though, said that his company would be taking legal action for the slanderous report.

“This was a reckless attempt to slander our family and smear a great company. Apologies are not enough when the true intent was solely to damage and cause harm. As a company, we will be taking legal action. This unethical behavior has to stop,” he said in a statement posted on Twitter.

Eric Trump is executive vice president of the Trump Organization.

The tweet came after O’Donnell issued a statement on the social media platform.

“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. I shouldn’t have reported it and I was wrong to discuss it on the air,” he said.

The statement did not include a retraction or apology but O’Donnell said on air later Wednesday that he was retracting the report and said, “I apologize.” He did not direct the apology to anyone in particular.

MSNBC hasn’t made clear whether O’Donnell will face punishment for reporting unverified information and NBC Universal did not respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times.

President Trump took to Twitter early Thursday.

“The totally inaccurate reporting by Lawrence O’Donnell, for which he has been forced by NBC to apologize, is NO DIFFERENT than the horrible, corrupt and fraudulent Fake News that I (and many millions of GREAT supporters) have had to put up with for years. So bad for the USA!” he wrote.

Epoch Times Photo
(L) President Donald Trump in a file photograph. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times) (R) Lawrence O’Donnell, an MSNBC host, in a file photograph. (Theo Wargo/Getty Images for THR)

In a letter to NBC Universal on Wednesday, Trump’s attorney Charles Harder said that the statements O’Donnell made were “false and defamatory and extremely damaging.”

He said the documents for the loans that O’Donnell discussed are “recorded, publicly available, and searchable online.”

“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,” he continued.

“Demand is hereby made that Mr. O’Donnell and NBCU immediately and prominently retract, correct, and apologize for the aforementioned false and defamatory statements,” he said.

Epoch Times Photo
The NBC Universal logo hangs on its headquarters building in Los Angeles, Calif., in a file photograph. The company received a letter from President Donald Trump’s attorney over an unverified report made by an MSNBC anchor on Aug. 28, 2019. (David McNew/Getty Images)

O’Donnell acknowledged the legal threat on air on Wednesday night as he retracted the report he’d made on Tuesday night to millions of viewers on Rachel Maddow’s show.

The network had not appeared to take any action prior to receiving the letter from Trump’s attorney.

MSNBC was one of the main purveyors of the conspiracy theory that Trump and his campaign colluded with Russia to win the 2016 presidential election. Ratings for Maddow, especially, have dropped significantly since special counsel Robert Mueller released his team’s report earlier this year. The team could not establish any collusion between Trump and Russia.

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