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:
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.
— Lawrence O’Donnell (@Lawrence) August 28, 2019
Watch the segment above, via MSNBC.