Donald Trump picked a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel and because of that the New York Times barely concealed its glee today when responding to the demand by Trump’s lawyers for a retraction of yesterday’s story that Trump groped two women.
“Your article is reckless, defamatory, and constitutes libel,” an attorney for Trump wrote in a letter to the Times.
Today, the counsel for the Times suggested the paper couldn’t wait for the opportunity to depose Trump in a lawsuit.
“The women quoted in our story spoke out on an issue of national importance—indeed, an issue that Mr. Trump himself discussed with the whole nation watching during Sunday night’s presidential debate,” David McCraw, the Times’ attorney, said. “Our reporters diligently worked to confirm the women’s accounts. They provided readers with Mr. Trump’s response, including his forceful denial of the women’s reports. It would have been a disservice not just to our readers but to democracy itself to silence their voices. We did what the law allows: We published newsworthy information about a subject of deep public concern.”
“If Mr. Trump disagrees, if he believes that American citizens had no right to hear what these women had to say and that the law of this country forces us and those who would dare to criticize him to stand silent or be punished, we welcome the opportunity to have a court set him straight,” he said.
“Trump has no case at all,” Laurence Tribe, a Harvard law professor, told The New Republic in an email.
At a speech in Florida today, Trump lashed out at the news media.
“Anyone who challenges them is deemed a racist, a sexist, a xenophobe and morally deformed,” he said.
“They will seek to destroy everything about you, including your reputation. They will lie, lie lie and they will do worse than that.”
Related: Trump Isn’t Teflon (FivethirtyEight)