Larry O'Donnell Claims Russian Oligarchs Co-Signed Trump's Deutsche Bank Loans; UPDATE: O'Donnell Retracts

 

On Tuesday, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell reported a source had informed him that the co-signers on Trump’s Deutsche Bank loans were Russian oligarchs. (Video below.)

As MSNBC host Rachel Maddow was turning the airwaves over to O’Donnell, he said, “This single source close to Deutsche Bank has told me that the Trump — Donald Trump’s loan documents there show that he has co-signers. That’s how he was able to obtain those loans. And that the co-signers are Russian oligarchs.” He added that his source also told him the co-signers were “Russian billionaires close to Vladimir Putin.”

Maddow’s ears immediately perked up. “What? Really?”

As if he had just made an incredible discovery, he said, “That would explain, it seems to me, every kind word Donald Trump has ever said about Russia and Vladimir Putin, if true, and I stress the ‘if true’ part of this.”

O’Donnell claimed his source had also said that Trump “pays little to no income tax in some years.”

If true,” O’Donnell said, “that would be a significant factor in Vladimir Putin’s publicly stated preference for presidential candidate Donald Trump over presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.”

Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey said, “If true … it might be the first time such a thing has happened on MSNBC concerning Trump and Russia.”

Given the source, the conservative blogosphere is not taking O’Donnell’s claims too seriously.

It is true, however, that Deutsche Bank has Trump’s tax returns. Democratic House leaders have been after Trump’s returns for a while now and an appellate court is currently deliberating on whether or not to allow Congress access to them.

Morrissey points out that Deutsche Bank has Russian problems of their own right now and suggested that maybe O’Donnell has this backwards.

According to the Washington Post:

Deutsche Bank had repeatedly failed to secure work with a Russian government entity when it was approached with a proposal: Hire the daughter of a high-ranking official at the organization.

“We must do it!” a senior Deutsche Bank official said, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission. “We should have her in London as it is NOT politically correct to have her in Moscow!”

The woman was hired with a promise of a permanent position in London, according to allegations detailed in an SEC settlement agreement. Ten days after the move was complete, the new employee’s father sent Deutsche Bank a request for a proposal on a bond deal worth more than $2 billion, a deal the bank ultimately won.

The SEC order outlines numerous alleged violations by the bank of the 1977 Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, saying the bank provided jobs to relatives of foreign government officials in an attempt to influence the officials to steer business to the bank. Deutsche Bank agreed to settle the SEC’s allegations late last week by paying $16 million, though it did not admit wrongdoing.

As it turns out, O’Donnell spoke way too soon. An MSNBC producer, Michael Del Moro, tweeted earlier that O’Donnell’s reporting had come “from a single source who has not yet seen the bank records. NBC has not seen those records and has not yet been able to verify the reporting.”

So, why then, if his single source had not even viewed the loan documents, did O’Donnell report it? That’s a rhetorical question. I guess for the same reasons he reported that Trump had colluded with the Russians for nearly three years.

 

UPDATE: 5:01 pm

Following a letter from President Trump litigation attorney to top brass at NBC Universal (which can be viewed here), O’Donnell retracted his statement.

In a tweet, he wrote:

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.

What a difference a lawsuit can make…I will watch O’Donnell’s show tonight and post in the morning about his “explanation.”