Tuesday night, the fake news media was back at it again, still trying to salvage some credibility after their “Russian collusion” conspiracy theory crashed and burned.
Lawrence O’Donnell, one of the prime Russia hoaxers, attempted to bring the hoax back into the spotlight by claiming that Deutsche Bank “is in possession of loan documents that show Donald Trump has obtained loans with co-signers, and that that he would not have been able to obtain those loans without co-signers.”
He continued, alleging that those co-signers were “Russian billionaires with close to Vladimir Putin,” implying that Trump has been friendly to Russia (a claim that, in itself, does not necessarily hold water given what the Trump administration has done to harm Russia’s interests in the Middle East).
At the end of his show, he went back to the story, clarifying that he only had one source for the claim, and that it had not been confirmed by the “news” outlet. In essence, O’Donnell copped to sensationalizing a thinly-sourced report.
O’Donnell’s story briefly trended on Twitter Tuesday night, and the entire ordeal did not sit well with Trump’s lawyers, who demanded a retraction from the network – not only for claiming that the co-signers on the loans were Russian, but for claiming that there were co-signers in the first place.
“We write concerning the false and defamatory statements published by Lawrence O’Donnell and NBC University about Mr. Trump and Trump Org. in an episode of the program, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell …” Charles J. Harder of Harder LLP reportedly wrote to NBC Universal.
“These statements are false and defamatory, and extremely damaging. The only borrowers under these loans are Trump entities, and Mr. Trump is the only guarantor,” Harder continued. “Numerous documents for each of these loans are also 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.”
So, Trump’s lawyers contend that Trump neither had co-signers on his Deutsche Bank loans, nor were they Russians, and especially not Russians “close to Vladimir Putin.” Further, Trump’s lawyers said that information that would have debunked O’Donnell’s false story was publicly available.
O’Donnell obviously jumped the gun in an attempt to get Trump, which has been a theme among the mainstream media for the entirety of the Trump presidency.
Trump’s lawyers told NBC that if it did not “immediately and prominently retract, correct, and apologize for the aforementioned false and defamatory statements,” then the law firm would “consider legal options.”
As it turns out, MSNBC wasn’t willing to stand by its fake reporting. Score one for Trump. O’Donnell half-heartedly apologized on his Twitter account Wednesday afternoon, and vowed further clarification on his Wednesday night show.
“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. I will address the issue on my show tonight,” he said.
Did you know that MSNBC has a “rigorous verification and standards process”?
We surely didn’t.
Peter D'Abrosca is a freelance investigative reporter, author, and conservative political commentator.
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