The Trump transition team launched its first legal attack on the mainstream media this week, just days before the inauguration of Donald Trump. And botched it.
The move signals that Trump will likely continue his 30-year history as a libel bully who sends empty threats to journalists and sometimes sues them, only to lose his libel cases in court.
The Trump transition team and a law firm launched the attack by issuing a public retraction demand to CNN over its supposedly “false” report about Sen. Tom Price’s (R-Ga.) controversial stock purchases, a first step toward filing a defamation lawsuit.
But the retraction demand ended up confirming the key facts in the CNN report. And the law firm — the global firm Dentons — quickly withdrew its letter after realizing that CNN is a client and threatening its own client presented a conflict.
In another signal that Trump will continue his bullying ways, it was revealed this week that Michael Cohen, Trump’s aggressive personal lawyer, will continue to work for Trump in a private capacity.
Cohen is known for threatening a Daily Beast reporter in 2015 by saying, “I’m warning you, tread very fucking lightly, because what I’m going to do to you is going to be fucking disgusting. You understand me?”
A look at Trump’s past libel lawsuits and other suits against the media provides a preview of what is to come with Trump and his administration. Trump and his companies have filed seven libel lawsuits against journalists and critics over the past 30 years – without winning a single one filed in a public court.
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