On Wednesday, Eric Trump threatened legal action over a claim made by MSNBC propagandist Lawrence O’Donnell that co-signers on Trump’s Deutsche Bank loans were Russian oligarchs with close ties to Vladimir Putin.
“Deutsche Bank is in possession of loan documents that show Donald Trump has obtained loans with co-signers and that he would not have been able to obtain those loans without co-signers,” O’Donnell said. “The source close to Deutsche Bank says that the co-signers of Donald Trump’s Deutsche Bank loans are Russian billionaires close to Vladimir Putin.”
But there was only one problem. It seems that neither O’Donnell, the alleged source nor NBC bothered to verify the claim. MSNBC Booking Producer Michael Del Moro tweeted:
Deutsche Bank is declining to comment on Lawrence O’Donnell’s reporting that Russian oligarch’s co-signed Trump’s loans. The information came from a single source who has not seen the bank records. NBC has not seen those records and has not yet been able to verify the reporting.
— Michael Del Moro (@MikeDelMoro) August 28, 2019
O’Donnell walked it back, somewhat, saying the allegation had not been rigorously vetted and shouldn’t have been reported.
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
O’Donnell framed it as a retraction, but still refused to say if the information he originally aired was inaccurate:
WATCH: Lawrence O'Donnell retracts his reporting about Trump loans. pic.twitter.com/JxNsIPhBNg
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) August 29, 2019
President Trump demanded MSNBC retract the story, NewsMax said.
“These statements are false and defamatory, and extremely damaging,” Trump attorney Charles Harder told NBC:
New: Trump attorney Charles Harder has sent a letter to NBC demanding a retraction over @Lawrence's Deutsche Bank claim. "These statements are false and defamatory, and extremely damaging," Harder writes. pic.twitter.com/yhB2bYtFph
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) August 28, 2019
Eric Trump, however, went even further and threatened the network with legal action.
“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.
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. @Lawrence @MSNBC https://t.co/i4X6CcdkCm
— Eric Trump (@EricTrump) August 29, 2019
“This is some grossly irresponsible work from MSNBC and, once again, it plays right into Trump’s hands that the media is out to get him,” tweeted Josh Jordan.
Lawrence O'Donnell tweeted the story out as if it was vetted and now we're learning that his single source has not even seen the bank records.
This is some grossly irresponsible work from MSNBC and, once again, it plays right into Trump's hands that the media is out to get him. https://t.co/iQzfKvZSxE
— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) August 28, 2019
MSNBC, irresponsible? Say it ain’t so…
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