President Donald Trump is vowing to “take a strong” look at United States libel laws after the publication of journalist Michael Wolff’s book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”
“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 a person, that person will have meaningful recourse in our courts,” Trump said in a statement to reporters on Wednesday.
“If someone says something that is totally false and knowingly false, that the person who has been abused, defamed, libeled, will have meaningful recourse”
Trump read the remarks during a cabinet meeting while flanked by members of his senior staff. Despite its factual errors, the “Fire and Fury” has caused an enormous stir inside the White House. The book led to a permanent rupture between Trump and his former chief strategist Steve Bannon, who resigned from his perch at Breitbart News on Tuesday.
Trump attorney Charles Harder sent a cease and desist letter to Wolff ‘s publisher, Henry Holt, in an attempt to stop the book’s release. The move led Holt to speed up the book’s publication.
Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, filed a lawsuit against BuzzFeed yesterday for defamation over its publication of a dossier one year ago that contained numerous salacious and unverified claims about Trump.
It’s not the first time the famously litigious president has floated the idea of tinkering with U.S. libel laws. As a candidate, Trump made a similar pronouncement.
“One of the things I’m going to do if I win, and I hope we do and we’re certainly leading. I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money,” he told a crowd in Fort Worth, Texas.
“So when The New York Times writes a hit piece which is a total disgrace or when The Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they’re totally protected.”