×
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

  • Roger Stone, longtime advisor to President

    Robert Mueller's Team Denies Roger Stone's Claim That It Tipped Off CNN to His Arrest

    WASHINGTON — Special Counsel Robert Mueller and federal prosecutors denied that they prematurely released a draft of the indictment of Roger Stone and said claims that CNN was tipped off to his arrest are “without merit.” Stone was arrested on Jan. 25 on charges of giving misleading testimony to Congress and intimidating a witness, but [...]

  • Kamala Harris

    Kamala Harris 'Frustrated and Disappointed' by Jussie Smollett Allegedly Staging Attack

    Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) has spoken out against Jussie Smollett after the “Empire” actor was charged by police for allegedly filing a false police report. “Like most of you, I’ve seen the reports about Jussie Smollett, and I’m sad, frustrated, and disappointed,” Harris said in a statement posted Thursday on Twitter. “When anyone makes false [...]

  • Ajit Pai net neutrality vote

    Congress Orders FCC Review of TV Content Ratings

    WASHINGTON — The FCC is being directed to review the 22-year-old TV content ratings system to gauge its accuracy. The review was part of the recently passed spending bill that funds the government through Sept. 30. It requires that the FCC report back to the House and Senate appropriations committee within 90 days “on the [...]

  • Maxine Waters

    Maxine Waters Reacts to Jussie Smollett Arrest: 'I Would Be Disappointed' if It's a Hoax

    Maxine Waters said she “would be disappointed” if it’s proven that her friend Jussie Smollett staged his own attack. Speaking with Variety‘s Marc Malkin on Thursday at Essence’s Black Women in Hollywood Awards, the U.S. representative from California said, “If in fact it’s a hoax, of course I would be disappointed.” Smollett faces one felony [...]

  • Roger Stone, longtime advisor to President

    Judge Bars Roger Stone From Talking Publicly About Russia Investigation

    WASHINGTON — Roger Stone was prohibited from commenting any about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation — including the charges that he faces. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson placed new restrictions on Stone after he posted a picture of her on Instagram earlier this week that featured a photo of her and of a [...]

  • Jussie Smollett

    Celebrities, Politicians React to Jussie Smollett Arrest: 'This Story Is Pathetic'

    Following the arrest of Jussie Smollett on Thursday, with the “Empire” star facing charges of filing a false police report and disorderly conduct after allegedly staging an attack, celebrities and politicians were quick to weigh in on social media. President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday morning, “What about MAGA and the tens of millions of people [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content