×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Trump Sued by Literary Group Over His Attacks on the Media, Threats of Retaliation

WASHINGTON — PEN America, an organization representing writers and literary professionals, filed suit against President Donald Trump on Tuesday, claiming he has used regulatory enforcement powers to attack media outlets in violation of the First Amendment.

“He has threatened to engage, and has engaged, in conduct intended to retaliate against specific news organizations and journalists whose content and viewpoints displease him,” the lawsuit stated. “Through his actions, Defendant Trump has intentionally conveyed to all writers and journalists that if he objects to their coverage, they may be subject to retaliation by the federal government.”

Specifically cited are the Justice Department’s decision to challenge the merger of AT&T and Time Warner, in the wake of Trump’s attacks on Time Warner unit CNN.

“While that lawsuit did not succeed in the District Court, the litigation cost CNN’s parent significant resources, including money, time, and opportunity costs,” the lawsuit said. “Those litigation costs continue as the President’s Administration pursues an appeal.”

Another example is Trump’s executive order directing the U.S. Postal Service to examine the shipping rates that it offers companies like Amazon. Trump has called out Jeff Bezos, the company’s founder, as he also owns The Washington Post. Trump has railed against the Post’s coverage of his administration.

“On information and belief, he then personally directed U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan to double the rate the Postal Service charges Amazon and other firms to ship packages,” the lawsuit stated. “On October 11, 2018, the Postal Service announced proposed rate increases, including a proposed 12-percent increase for the Parcel Select service used by Amazon.”

Also cited are threats to take away the credentials of White House reporters “whose coverage displeases him and has threatened to challenge NBC’s and other television stations’ broadcast licenses in retaliation for coverage he disliked.”

The lawsuit stated that Trump “has made eminently clear his disdain for the press and the legal protections the First Amendment affords it. He has frequently referred to journalists covering his rallies as ‘disgusting’ and has stated, more generally, that it is ‘frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write’ and that ‘people should look into that.'”

A White House spokeswoman did not immediately return a request for comment.

The lawsuit seeks a declaration that Trump violated the First Amendment, and an injunction blocking him from using his office to retaliate against speech critical of his administration. PEN America is represented in the case by the nonprofit Protect Democracy and the Yale Law School Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic.

 

More Politics

  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders Jemele Hill

    Sarah Huckabee Sanders to Leave the White House

    White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is leaving her position at the end of the month, President Donald Trump said Thursday. In two tweets, Trump announced Sanders’ departure for her home state of Arkansas before thanking her for “a job well done.” He also recommended her for the Arkansas governor position, writing, “She is [...]

  • Kellyanne Conway

    Federal Watchdog Says Kellyanne Conway Should Step Down

    A federal watchdog has recommended that White House counselor Kellyanne Conway should be fired for repeated violations of the Hatch Act. In a report on Thursday, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel found that Conway had used TV appearances and social media platforms to disparage Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity. “Ms. [...]

  • Jessica Biel Clarifies Anti-Vaccine Stance

    Jessica Biel: 'I Am Not Against Vaccinations'

    Jessica Biel clarified her stance on vaccinations after public outcry over news that the actress joined Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to lobby against a California state pro-vaccine bill. “I am not against vaccinations,” Biel wrote on Instagram Thursday morning. “I support children getting vaccinations and I also support families having the right to make educated [...]

  • 'The Sinner' film premiere

    Jessica Biel Joins Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to Lobby Against California Vaccine Bill

    Jessica Biel joined the controversial anti-vaccination advocate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to lobby against a California state pro-vaccine bill on Tuesday, revealed in several social media posts. “Please say thank you to the courageous @jessicabiel for a busy and productive day at the California State House,” Kennedy posted on Tuesday with a series of pictures [...]

  • Hope Hicks Resigns

    Hope Hicks to Give Closed-Door Testimony to Judiciary Committee

    Hope Hicks, the chief communications officer at Fox, has agreed to answer questions before the House Judiciary Committee next week. The hearing will be held behind closed doors, but the committee will make a transcript available afterward. The committee is continuing to follow up on the report of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Hicks is set [...]

  • Michael Wolff Fire and Fury

    5 Takeaways From Michael Wolff's 'Siege: Trump Under Fire'

    Michael Wolff’s “Siege: Trump Under Fire” looks at the 45th president’s second year in office, detailing everything from a potential indictment to Melania Trump’s mysterious hospitalization. It’s the follow-up to Wolff’s “Fire and Fury,” and though this installment likely won’t reach the commercial heights of its predecessor, it’s certainly not lacking in titillating reveals. Several [...]

  • Donald Trump

    Trump Says His Meghan Markle ‘Nasty’ Comment Was Taken Out of Context

    After first denying he made the comment, President Trump now says his remark describing Meghan Markle as “nasty” was taken out of context, telling Piers Morgan instead that he thinks the Duchess of Sussex is actually “very nice.” Trump called Markle “nasty” in an interview with British tabloid The Sun ahead of his three-day state [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content