President Donald Trump is continuing his attack on Lawrence O’Donnell after the MSNBC host claimed that the president had obtained massive loans from Deutsche Bank with the help of Russian billionaires with close ties to Vladimir Putin.
The president took aim at O’Donnell for the now-retracted report claiming that Trump had concealed deep financial ties to Russia. In a statement on Twitter, Trump characterized the report as similar to other stories he has claimed were false.
“The totally inaccurate reporting by Lawrence O’Donnell, for which he has been forced by NBC to apologize, is NO DIFFERENT than the horrible, corrupt and fraudulent Fake News that I (and many millions of GREAT supporters) have had to put up with for years. So bad for the USA!” Trump wrote.
O’Donnell made the bombshell claim during an MSNBC broadcast this week that he had learned from a single source close to Deutsche Bank that documents showed Russian co-signers on some significant loans for Donald Trump, quoted The Washington Examiner. The allegations spread quickly, with many characterizing it as the missing tie between Trump and Russia that did not show up in the final report from special counsel Robert Mueller. But others questioned the reporting itself, noting that O’Donnell seemed to press forward without independently verifying the information.
O’Donnell seemed to agree, issuing a retraction hours later and noting that his report did not meet the network’s standards. Most news outlets require information be properly verified through more than a single source before it can be reported.
The retraction came after Donald Trump’s personal lawyer sent a letter to O’Donnell regarding the report. As The Hollywood Reporter noted, lawyer Charles Harder threatened to sue NBCUniversal for defamation if the report was not retracted.
“The Program and Tweet make the false and defamatory statements that ‘Russian oligarchs’ co-signed loans provided to Mr. Trump by Deutsche Bank, and described these ‘co-signers’ as ‘Russian billionaires close to Vladimir Putin,'” the letter said.
Lawrence O’Donnell also came under fire from other members of the press who said that his rush to report the information without verifying it allowed Donald Trump to continue his campaign against the media. Trump has regularly referred to critical stories as “Fake News,” and on a number of occasions called the press the “enemy of the people.”
This is why @Lawrence’s irresponsible actions are so damaging. Obviously there’s a big difference between O’Donnell and the rest of press. But that’s not how Trump will frame it. And many will walk away with the impression that a news anchor (not opinion host) slandered POTUS. https://t.co/OZJqCQHhp2
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) August 29, 2019
It was not clear if Donald Trump intended to follow through on the threat to sue Lawrence O’Donnell or MSNBC for the report.