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I'll Take 'Strong Look' To Ensure Libel Laws Cover … Definition Of Libel

I'll Take 'Strong Look' To Ensure Libel Laws Cover … Definition Of Libel

Trump told the Journal that the explosive book on his administration, Fire and Fury, showed the need for new libel laws but that Congress doesn't have the "guts" to do so.

The 71-year-old president has been infuriated by the publication of "Fire and Fury", an incendiary tell-all book by author Michael Wolff about the inner workings of the White House.

Still stinging from a White House insider book that portrays him as an unstable dolt surrounded by aides who uniformly think he's unqualified to be president, an angry Donald Trump, reading from a prepared statement, threatened Wednesday to "take a strong look" at US libel laws. There are now no federal libel laws in the US that Congress could re-examine, as the criteria for libel is typically left to each state to decide.

The tweeter-in-chief accused the media of "saying things that are false, knowingly false, and be able to smile as the money pours into your bank account".

President Trump spent much of his first official Cabinet meeting in 2018 touting his administration's "tremendous" achievements in 2017.

In Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, author Michael Wolff has questioned Trump's mental fitness, portraying him as child-like with a short attention span. Trump had often complained about U.S. libel laws on the 2016 campaign trail.

Donald Trump Oprah
President Trump said he would beat Oprah Winfrey in the 2020 presidential election

Trump has also hinted in the past, both as a candidate and as president, that he would like to change libel laws as a means of fighting back against media outlets that he believes treat him unfairly. "What the American people want to see is fairness".

Most state laws set a tough standard for proving libel against public figures like Trump.

For now, Roth said, Trump's threat to change libel laws is just "another silly declaration" from the White House.

Today, Roth said, "libel and slander are state court causes of action, not federal laws".

"We are going to take a strong look at our country's libel laws so that when somebody says something that is false and defamatory about someone, that person will have meaningful recourse in our courts", he said. One of Trump's personal attorneys, Charles Harder, sent cease and desist letters to Steve Bannon, Wolff and the publishing company, Henry Holt. The publisher subsequently moved up the release date of the book.

BuzzFeed responded to the defamation suit by saying "this is not the first time Trump's personal lawyer has attacked the free press, and we look forward to defending our First Amendment rights in court".

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