Thursday, August 29, 2019

As Usual

In Tuesday's crossover from The Rachel Maddow Show to The Last Word, Lawrence O'Donnell stated

And 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.

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.

Trump family attorney Charles Harder on Wednesday threatened to sue the network unless the latter chose to "retract, correct and apologize for" what he contended were completely false remarks. In response, or simply because MSNBC is a credible news organization, O'Donnell later led his program with

Last night on this show, I discussed information that wasn’t ready for reporting. I repeated statements a single source told me about the president’s finances and loan documents with Deutsche Bank, saying “if true” as I discussed the information was simply not good enough. I did not go through the rigorous verification and standards process here at MSNBC before repeating what I heard from my source.

Had it gone through that process, I would not have been permitted to report it. I should not have said it on air or posted it on Twitter. I was wrong to do so.

This afternoon, attorneys for the president sent us a letter asserting the story is false. They also demanded a retraction.

Tonight, we are retracting the story. We don’t know whether the information is inaccurate. But the fact is, we do know it wasn’t ready for broadcast, and for that I apologize.

Harder had demanded not only a retraction and apology but also a correction. Instead, the undoubtedly carefully vetted statement included "we don't know whether the information is inaccurate." Though a lawsuit, judging by the lawyer's threat, should be forthcoming, it will not ensue. Trump has made a cottage industry out of threatening to sue one entity or another, and then backing off.Also

Discovery can be a real bitch.

O'Donnell (presumably) told the truth: one of his sources had told him that Russian oligarchs co-signed for a loan Trump received from Deutsche Bank.  After the MSNBC host issued the retraction, however, the President posted a tweet denying- falsely or otherwise- that there were Russian co-signers, but also lying:

As usual, he lied not because he is unable to do otherwise. He lied because there is no reason not to. Thursday's focus, predictably, was on O'Donnell rather than on the deceit of Donald J. Trump, holder of the position previously known as Leader of the Free World.

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