The original article cited reporting from Lawrence O’Donnell, who suggested that President Donald Trump required Russian co-signers for his loans with Deutsche Bank. O’Donnell has since retracted that reporting, stating that, “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.” The reporting from O’Donnell was based on a single source, the Washington Post reported, and had not been vetted by MSNBC before he made the statements on his program, he added.
The original reporting of O’Donnell’s comments from earlier this week appears below. We are leaving it unchanged so you may read what O’Donnell had said, and so that you, the reader, can come to your own conclusions, with the understanding that the reporting the MSNBC host made was not the most scrupulous it could have been.
On Tuesday evening, during the Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, it was reported that a source with connections to the Deutsche Bank had knowledge that the institution had access to President Donald Trump’s long-sought after tax returns.
O’Donnell explained on the program that Deutsche Bank, which provided Trump several loans, had copies of his tax returns as part of his attempts to attain lending from the institution, and that it was necessary for him to attain co-signers in order for him to get the loans he requested, Raw Story reported.
“The source close to Deutsche Bank says that the Trump tax returns reveal that the president pays little to no income tax in some years,” O’Donnell said on his show. “And the source says that 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.”
Who were those co-signers? According to the MSNBC host, they were Russian oligarchs.
“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,” O’Donnell said.
A source close to Deutsche Bank says Trump’s tax returns show he pays very little income tax and, more importantly, that his loans have Russian co-signers.
If true, that explains every kind word Trump has ever said about Russia and Putin. @TheLastWord 10pm
— Lawrence O'Donnell (@Lawrence) August 28, 2019
Editorializing a bit during his reporting, O’Donnell explained to his audience what the new report meant exactly.
“If true, that would explain every kind word Donald Trump has ever said about Russia and Vladimir Putin,” he said. “If true, that would be a significant factor in Vladimir Putin’s publicly stated preference for presidential candidate Donald Trump over presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.”
Earlier in the day, the New York Times reported that the Deutsche Bank had confirmed to the Second Court of Appeals that they indeed had copies of Trump’s tax returns. Democrats in Congress had subpoenaed the documents from Deutsche Bank, but the Trump administration is suing to try and keep those documents from reaching them.
The contents of Trump’s tax returns has been something the president has been trying to conceal since he ran for office in 2016. During that time, Trump had said he would eventually disclose his tax documents, but not until an audit was completed (the IRS, including Trump’s own tax commissioner, has said audits do not prevent candidates from releasing their taxes).
After the election and since, Trump has refused to make his documents public, despite his earlier promises, alleging the American people don’t care about them any longer. But polling on that issue shows the public does wish to know what Trump is trying to conceal, Slate reported in April.