Trump Slams "Discredited" Woodward, Asks Why "Politicians Don't Change Libel Laws?"

As we anticipated, President Trump wasn't thrilled about some of the allegations included in Watergate reporter Bob Woodward's upcoming book - and he's taken to twitter to express his outrage in predictably Trumpian fashion. After taking his first swipe at the Washington Post editor last night, President Trump chimed in this morning by questioning why politicians in Washington don't "change the libel laws" in the US to make it easier for private citizens and public officials to sue journalists.

"Isn’t it a shame that someone can write an article or book, totally make up stories and form a picture of a person that is literally the exact opposite of the fact, and get away with it without retribution or cost," Trump tweeted. "Don’t know why Washington politicians don’t change libel laws?" Trump made similar remarks back in January during a cabinet meeting when he said his administration intends to "take a strong look at the libel laws" and called them a "sham and a disgrace." Before that, Trump famously said during the campaign that, if elected, he would "open up" the libel laws."

Fortunately for journalists, defamation laws are largely "a creature of state law, not federal law" and it would be very difficult for Trump to change them.

Yesterday, Trump issued more than half a dozen denials of Woodward's claims, tweeting statements from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Chief of Staff John Kelly, as well as the White House communications office's official denial.

 

 

 

 

 

Woodward and the Washington Post published an audio recording of his phone call with President Trump where Trump repeatedly denied being told about Woodward's desire for an interview. Surprisingly, Trump hasn't resorted to the vicious personal attacks he employed last month against Woodward's Watergate colleague Carl Bernstein. However, with more leaks likely to come ahead of the book's official publication, we imagine this isn't the last we've heard from Trump or the White House.

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