Lawrence O’Donnell Pummeled for ‘Grossly Irresponsible,’ Thinly-Sourced Claim Russian Oligarchs Co-Signed Trump’s Loans
Lawrence O’Donnell has been slammed by critics for running with an unsubstantiated report that President Donald Trump’s bank loans were backed up by Russians.
On Tuesday night, O’Donnell claimed that he had a source who told him Russian oligarchs co-signed a loan provided to Trump by the Deutsche Bank. While the report, if true, would be a bombshell development in discussions about Trump’s relationship with Russia, O’Donnell acknowledged at the end of his show that the claim was based on “a single source” and “has not been confirmed by NBC News.”
“I have not seen any documentation from Deutsche Bank that supports this and verifies this,” O’Donnell continued. “This is just a single source who has revealed that to me and that’s where that stands at this point. It’s going to need a lot more verification before that can be a confirmable fact.”
MSNBC producer Michael Del Moro said much the same when he tweeted about O’Donnell on Wednesday.
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
With all of this being said, there is no real basis of credibility that can be applied to O’Donnell’s story right now. As such, the MSNBC anchor is getting shredded on Twitter for pushing the claim without any evidence or vetting from NBC.
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
So the natural question is: Why did it run on MSNBC prime time? https://t.co/bJehALYib6
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) August 28, 2019
— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) August 28, 2019
— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) August 28, 2019
So not only was Lawrence O'Donnell's massive Trump-Russia scoop last night not vetted by NBC News, his source never actually saw the documents he described.
— Alex Griswold (@HashtagGriswold) August 28, 2019
Rachel Maddow is all of us pic.twitter.com/7nZBPJfqlZ
— Claudia Koerner (@ClaudiaKoerner) August 28, 2019
I understand why reporters often rely on anonymous sources, and so long as they have multiple sources with direct knowledge/evidence of an event, its fair game IMO.
But single sourcing "scoops" with no evidence/direct knowledge is indefensible & should be rejected by everyone. https://t.co/qBjrso3072
— Andrew Surabian (@Surabees) August 28, 2019
Great job, Larry ?? https://t.co/htYXWn1Zir
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) August 28, 2019
"Asked how O'Donnell's reporting made it to air, given how thinly-sourced it was and given that the network has not been able to confirm it, a spokesperson for NBC and MSNBC declined to comment." https://t.co/iF806ZhRED
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) August 28, 2019
To top it all off, a lawyer for Trump is now demanding a retraction and apology from NBC for O’Donnell’s “false and defamatory” segment:
Just in: Attorney for @realDonaldTrump sends demand for retraction, corrctn, and apology to @nbc over segment of @Lawrence program last nite in which he said “Russian oligarchs” co-signed Deutsche Bank loans to Trump. Letter says that statement is “false and defamatory.” Letter: pic.twitter.com/HY0ZRAES5i
— Paul Farhi (@farhip) August 28, 2019
UPDATE — 4:09 pm ET: O’Donnell has now admitted to an “error in judgment” in reporting it in the first place.
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]