Stung by book, president calls libel laws a 'disgrace'

Donald Trump fitness test

President Trump has complained about the nation's libel laws and tried to stop the publication of a book by threatening to sue the publisher. "You can't stand the heat or the truth but no one forced you to run for President". Just last week, Trump's lawyers threatened to sue author Michael Wolff over his best-selling book, "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House", which was released on Friday.

President Donald Trump criticized the United States Congress for a lack of willingness to look into libel laws, even though libel is regulated from state to state, in a new interview with the Wall Street Journal published Thursday.

Streisand - a supporter and donor to former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton - is a frequent and outspoken critic of Trump and his administration's policies, often using her Twitter account to voice her opinion on political issues. Under current US libel and defamation laws, which staunchly protect the First Amendment, would-be plaintiffs must prove that a media company knowingly and purposefully published false information, which is a very high bar to clear.

"Our current libel laws are a sham and a disgrace, and do not represent American values or American fairness", Trump said, reading from prepared notes. "We are going to take a very, very strong look at that, and I think what the American people want to see is fairness".

The president's comments come as his legal team seeks to halt sales of "Fire and Fury", a new book by journalist Michael Wolff. "What the American people want to see is fairness".

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

And of course, Trump took his cheap shot at the libel laws the same day the Washington Post reported that he has made more than 2,000 false or misleading quotes in 355 days in office. "I consider it work", Trump said.

"Trump is not changing - and he never will change - the libel laws in this country, despite his rhetoric", said Richard Roth, a New York-based white-collar litigator and founder of the Roth Law Firm.

Today, Roth said, "libel and slander are state court causes of action, not federal laws". Nor did he identify what, exactly, the administration will be "taking a very very strong look at". "There is no federal libel law, and the president does not have the authority to change state libel laws".

The New York Times vs. Sullivan ruling set the malice standard for libel.

The ACLU responded to Trump's remarks on Wednesday by saying the "threat to revise our country's libel laws is, frankly, not credible".

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