Here’s a question in return: Guess who’s looking to recover from the collapse of the Russia-collusion theory? A “source”* tells me that this is more an exposé of MSNBC’s desperation than of actual reality. I’m betting that my source is more solid than Lawrence O’Donnell’s, but YMMV.
Even Business Insider treats this with asbestos gloves, calling O’Donnell’s report “rumor” rather than, y’know, news. And the reaction from Rachel Maddow pretty much emulates what everyone else thinks of O’Donnell’s report:
BREAKING: MSNBC reports that Donald Trump obtained business loans by having Russian oligarchs as co-signers: "The source close to Deutsche Bank has told me that Donald Trump's loan documents … show that he has co-signers … and that they are Russian Oligarchs." pic.twitter.com/RdIC9bNIOP
— Harry Cherry (@TheHarryCherry) August 28, 2019
MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell added to the swirl of rumor that surrounds President Donald Trump’s relationship with Deutsche Bank, suggesting that his loans with the lender were underwritten by Russian billionaires.
O’Donnell, appearing on the network Tuesday night with host Rachel Maddow, said that a source “close to Deutsche Bank says that the co-signers of Donald Trump’s Deutsche Bank loans are Russian billionaires close to Vladimir Putin.”.
“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.”
If true … it might be the first time such a thing has happened on MSNBC concerning Trump and Russia. Business Insider notes this too, adding further into its report that the cable channel as “faced criticism for missteps in its coverage of Trump’s Russia ties in the past.” Maddow herself had Trump’s tax returns from 2005, which turned out to be an Al-Capone’s-vault-level dud. If that information was on Trump’s tax returns — as O’Donnell claimed in a separate clip — then why didn’t Maddow see that?
O’Donnell’s correct on one point — Deutsche Bank does have Trump’s tax returns, which they admitted in court yesterday. The House wants to subpoena all of the firm’s records regarding the Trump family in order to unwind Trump’s personal finances, which Trump is vigorously opposing. The appellate court hearing the issue now still is deliberating after a hearing last week, and the new filing was in response to questioning by judges overseeing the case.
However, it’s also possible that O’Donnell got this backwards. Deutsche Bank has its own problems with Russia connections, and China connections to boot:
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.
Eh, who knows? If you look under everyone’s bed long enough, you’ll find Russians. If you work for MSNBC, that is.
* My source is my own intelligence and observations of MSNBC’s credibility over the last couple of years on this topic.
Update: CNN’s Oliver Darcy has a pretty obvious question after an MSNBC producer explained the circumstances behind the “source”:
So the natural question is: Why did it run on MSNBC prime time? https://t.co/bJehALYib6
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) August 28, 2019
The source didn’t see the bank records? And O’Donnell reported it anyway?