Lawrence O’Donnell Walks Back ‘Russian Oligarchs’ Story After Trump Lawyers Demand Retraction, Apology

Lawrence O’Donnell Walks Back ‘Russian Oligarchs’ Story After Trump Lawyers Demand Retraction, Apology

Lawyers for Donald Trump on Wednesday successfully demanded that MSNBC retract and apologize for a segment that host Lawrence O’Donnell ran on Tuesday night claiming that “Russian oligarchs” had co-signed loans the president took out from Deutsche Bank.

O’Donnell had told his audience at the top of the show that “a single source close to Deutsche Bank” had seen loan documents co-signed by “Russian billionaires close to Vladimir Putin.” He stressed that he only had one source on the matter and kept repeating the words “if true,” apparently as some sort of incantation forestalling legal action.

In a letter sent to the network, the lawyers called O’Donnell’s statement “false and defamatory” and gave him 24 hours to “prominently retract, correct and apologize” for the allegation, adding:

“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.”

Late Wednesday afternoon, O’Donnell issued a retraction:

Watch the segment above, via MSNBC.

Gary Legum

Gary Legum has written about politics and culture for Independent Journal Review, Salon, The Daily Beast, Wonkette, AlterNet and McSweeney's, among others. He currently lives in his native state of Virginia.