Donald Trump And Charles Harder Continue Their Assault On The 1st Amendment, Suing The Washington Post

from the opening-up-our-libel-laws dept

It appears whatever modest amount of restraint that our President had regarding his early promise to "open up our libel laws" have gone away. As you may recall, during the campaign he made such a promise, perhaps not realizing that defamation laws are not under the purview of the federal government -- and any changes at the state level are limited by the 1st Amendment of the Constitution (not something he can write away with an executive order). Right before he was inaugurated, he seemed to back down a little on that promise -- telling the NY Times that someone had pointed out to him that with more open libel laws, he was more likely to get sued as well.

Over the first three years of his Presidency, while constantly lashing out ridiculously at the press, and the Washington Post and the NY Times in particular -- including his constant authoritarian attack of calling them "the enemy of the people" -- he had not sued. Until last week when he tapped lawyer Charles Harder (who, we'll remind you, was the lawyer in the lawsuit against us), to represent the Trump Campaign (rather than Donald directly) to sue the NY Times over an opinion piece. Trump and Harder have now done so again, this time suing the Washington Post over two opinion pieces.

The complaint -- like the one against the NY Times -- is laughable and will be thrown out of court. Again, opinions are not defamatory, and the articles were opinion pieces. The statements they make, that the Trump campaign declares defamatory are basically all ones based on disclosed facts. The complaint is short and not very detailed. It highlights just a single line in each post that it claims is defamatory:

On or about June 13, 2019, The Post published the article entitled “Trump just invited another Russian attack. Mitch McConnell is making one more likely” (the “June 13 Article”), by Greg Sargent, which contained the defamatory claim that Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded that the Campaign “tried to conspire with” a “sweeping and systematic” attack by Russia against the 2016 United States presidential election.

The statement in the June 13 Article is false and defamatory. In fact, Special Counsel Mueller’s Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election released on or about April 18, 2019 (the “Mueller Report”), nearly two months before the June 13 Article, came to the opposite conclusion of the June 13 Article, namely, the Mueller Report concluded there was no conspiracy between the Campaign and the Russian government, and no United States person intentionally coordinated with Russia’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 election.

On or about June 20, 2019, The Post published the article entitled “Trump: I can win reelection with just my base” (the “June 20 Article”), by Paul Waldman, which contains the defamatory statement “who knows what sort of aid Russia and North Korea will give to the Trump campaign, now that he has invited them to offer their assistance?”

The statement in the June 20 Article is false and defamatory. There has never been any statement by anyone associated with the Campaign or the administration “inviting” Russia or North Korea to assist the Campaign in 2019 or beyond. There also has never been any reporting that the Campaign has ever had any contact with North Korea relating to any United States election.

These are both issues that are subject to interpretation, and neither piece comes anywhere even remotely close to the necessary standard for defamation of a public figure (which, uh, the President absolutely is). On the first one, Harder is leaning heavily on the "conspiracy" word. While the Report did not show direct coordination between the campaign and the Russians, it did show multiple connection points. Indeed, the report itself says:

The investigation also identified numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump Campaign. Although the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts, the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.

So this comes down to interpretation. The Mueller report showed links between the Russians and the Campaign, but did not find enough evidence to prove a conspiracy -- which is not definitive evidence of no conspiracy. Indeed, the report shows multiple situations in which members of the Trump Campaign appeared interested in working with the Russian government -- but not enough evidence of an actual conspiracy was found. But to say that's evidence of no effort to conspire is just silly. The opinion piece's summary of that as "tried to conspire" is... not anywhere near defamatory, in which case the Post would have to have believed this was false or published it with reckless disregard for the truth. That's... not the case.

On the second one, I'll note, with amusement, that the final sentence only mentions North Korea as a government that the Trump Campaign has not discussed the election with and leaves out Russia. Interesting. But, more to the point, the article in question was discussing a Trump interview with George Stephanopoulos in which Trump is asked if he'd accept damaging information on election opponents from foreign nations, and Trump replied:

"I think you might want to listen, there isn't anything wrong with listening," Trump continued. "If somebody called from a country, Norway, [and said] ‘we have information on your opponent' -- oh, I think I'd want to hear it."

That is easily, and fairly, turned into the statement in the Post opinion piece that the Campaign was "inviting" foreign help. There is no way that such a statement could or would be seen as defamatory.

In the meantime, I feel the need to remind both Harder and Trump that not too long ago, in defending Trump against a defamation lawsuit in which Trump was the defendant, Harder wrote a stirring statement in support of the 1st Amendment and warned that:

A defamation standard that turns typical political rhetoric into actionable defamation would chill expression that is central to the First Amendment and political speech.

I wish the two of them would remember that sometimes.

Filed Under: 1st amendment, anti-slapp, charles harder, defamation, donald trump, free speech, slapp
Companies: washington post


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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Mar 2020 @ 12:22pm

    the 1st Amendment of the Constitution (not something [President Trump] can write away with an executive order)

    But when Obama did it with his pen and his phone, it was just fine?

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 5 Mar 2020 @ 12:41pm

      Re:

      [Citation Needed].

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Mar 2020 @ 12:46pm

      Re:

      Sigh. Why do you idiots keep deflecting?

      1. Obama is NOT the president.
      2. Anything he may have done wrong doesn't excuse Trump from also doing something wrong.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 5 Mar 2020 @ 1:07pm

      Funny, I don’t recall Barack Obama undoing the entirety of the First Amendment at any point in either of his actually-won-the-popular-vote two terms as President of the United States.

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        Anonymous Coward, 5 Mar 2020 @ 1:17pm

        Re:

        Funny, I don't recall the article claiming Donald Trump is going after the entirety of the First Amendment here either. Context matters, moron.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 5 Mar 2020 @ 1:19pm

          Re: Re:

          Funny, I don't recall the article claiming Donald Trump is going after the entirety of the First Amendment here either. Context matters, moron.

          Just the part where having an opinion on clearly established facts are a problem.

          Yup. Got it.

          Fucking dumbass.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 5 Mar 2020 @ 1:41pm

          I don't recall the article claiming Donald Trump is going after the entirety of the First Amendment

          He is attempting to “open up libel laws” by filing lawsuits against people writing (and outlets publishing) opinions about him that he personally dislikes but aren’t defamatory. If you don’t see that as an attack on the principles of the First Amendment, you might want to have your cranial nerves examined.

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        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 6 Mar 2020 @ 3:16am

          Re: Re:

          "I don't recall the article claiming Donald Trump is going after the entirety of the First Amendment here either. Context matters, moron."

          ...if you are unable to read english I'm afraid we can't help you. Would a translation of some sort help?

          Because the President Of The United states going after press OPINION is as clear-cut an assault on the first amendment as you can get without him trying to have said amendment removed from the congress floor.

          That's the context, and as you say, failing to realize it does imply the one reading it is a moron. You, in this case.

          There were indeed problems with Obama's administration but whenever you wingnuts from the "Trump, Trump, über alles" faction see fit to desperately fit some whataboutism in to exculpate your beloved badly toupeed dollop of head cheese from his latest whopper your argument ends so badly saner minds are just reminded that it is indeed better to keep silent and be thought an idiot than open your mouth and remove all doubt.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Mar 2020 @ 1:18pm

      Re:

      But when Obama did it with his pen and his phone, it was just fine?

      Yup, for no other reason than it triggers people like you.

      Tell me, how does it feel knowing he actually won the popular vote? (twice)
      How does it feel knowing he wasn't impeached?
      How does it feel knowing he could form sentences into coherent paragraphs, as opposed to this simple-talking dimwit?
      And how does it feel knowing he actually could pass a health care bill?

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    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 5 Mar 2020 @ 2:14pm

      Re:

      But when Obama did it with his pen and his phone, it was just fine?

      Can you point me to such an example? I don't recall him writing an executive order that attacks the 1st Amendment.

      And, of course, we did criticize Obama many, many times for various things he did in office, including his use of executive orders for stupid purposes. Perhaps, next time, before assuming we're partisan hacks like yourself, you could do a fucking search.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 5 Mar 2020 @ 2:46pm

        Re: Re:

        But Mike that would take away some of their time for being a partisan hack.

        And let us not get in to what ever personal reasons there are for them to feel that compulsion. I doubt that knowledge could do anything but hurt people.

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      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 6 Mar 2020 @ 3:20am

        Re: Re:

        "Perhaps, next time, before assuming we're partisan hacks like yourself, you could do a fucking search."

        Why would an obviously disingenious weasel desperate to exculpate his beloved cheese-doodle-in-chief from that worthy's latest blunder want to bring actual fact into the debate?

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        kag (profile), 6 Mar 2020 @ 6:20am

        Re: Re:

        But while you do cover abuses by the other side, the language is far different. Just to check, I looked back at your stories about James Rosen. Nowhere does it call that an attack on the first amendment. And I would say that leveraging the DOJ against a reporter is far more chilling than filing a nuisance lawsuit in an open court which is going to get thrown out. these lawsuits are statements, futile ones, but statements showing displeasure at dishonest, but maybe correct within the letter of the law reporting. Also, your claim that the mueller report shows a link between trump and russia is false too. If I wait for the wind to blow over a garbage can, does that show a link between me and the wind? hardly. Whether you want to admit it or not, you are very partisan.

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        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 7 Mar 2020 @ 2:04pm

          Careful with that glass house of yours

          ... did you actually read your own comment before pushing submit? On one hand you accuse Mike of downplaying the government attempting to undermine the first amendment by going after a reporter(and a quick search shows that that simply didn't happen, he was ripping into them for how they went after Rosen), yet right after that you yourself do just that by trying to portray the gorram US president filing SLAPP suits as 'statements'.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 8 Mar 2020 @ 3:51am

          I would say that leveraging the DOJ against a reporter is far more chilling than filing a nuisance lawsuit in an open court

          They’re both equally as chilling when the nuisance lawsuit is being filed by the President of the United States. (Trump can say the suits were filed by his campaign, but they wouldn’t have done that without his say-so.) Say what you want about Trump’s competency as a human being in general, but even he knows that filing a lawsuit against someone while sitting in the highest seat of American power will make people stop in their tracks, even if only for a moment.

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        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 9 Mar 2020 @ 2:04am

          Re: Re: Re:

          " Also, your claim that the mueller report shows a link between trump and russia is false too. "

          You were doing so well until you started lying.

          The Mueller report does indeed demonstrate certain links between Trump and Russia. What it does NOT do is bring evidence that Russia acts were part of an outright agreement.

          "I looked back at your stories about James Rosen. Nowhere does it call that an attack on the first amendment. And I would say that leveraging the DOJ against a reporter..."

          ...is the act of a moron which, i believe, that article more than implied. But you can't use existing law to assault the first amendment. If the case ends up with SCOTUS making a disastrous ruling it'd be another thing. Criminal law works the same for everyone.

          A civil suit, however, is different because - especially if it's used as a SLAPP - it's outright intimidation. Now, when the president of the united states is using SLAPP suits to intimidate and extort a private entity for having an opinion then that's an entirely different message.

          "Whether you want to admit it or not, you are very partisan."

          Partisan as in being relatively honest and possessing moral and intellectual integrity? Yes, I can see why so much of what counts as the "right wing" these days find that to be "partisan".

          It's somehow typical behavior from that part of the right wing which considers the president refusing to condemn the "very fine people" swinging swastikas in the charlottesville riots, a balancing act.

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          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 9 Mar 2020 @ 2:26am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "The Mueller report does indeed demonstrate certain links between Trump and Russia. What it does NOT do is bring evidence that Russia acts were part of an outright agreement."

            More to the point - the report and Mueller's testimony outright state that there was specific activities between them, however the evidence did not meet the standard necessary for prosecution. This is largely because "collusion" doesn't have a specific legal definition that Mueller felt he could apply.

            You can always tell when someone is lying because they pretend that this exonerated Trump. In reality, there was far more evidence of links between Trump and Russia than there ever was of any of the right-wing stories about Obama. It just hasn't been used to prosecute.

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            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 10 Mar 2020 @ 2:31am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "You can always tell when someone is lying because they pretend that this exonerated Trump. In reality, there was far more evidence of links between Trump and Russia than there ever was of any of the right-wing stories about Obama. It just hasn't been used to prosecute."

              All too true. The Mueller report, when read, gives the impression of the man writing it sorely felt the frustration of being shown a complete picture of two actors cooperating to bring a desired result which only lacked any evidence capable of making it to court.

              They never could pin a single crime on Capone which he was rightly infamous for committing either.

              Was Trump colluding with Putin? My guess is that no, Trump was used by Putin. Has no one noticed to which extent the issues Obama kept raising about Russia's actions in Crimea and Ukraine vanished from US foreign policy?

              Putin played GWB like a fiddle, which let him reconquer Georgia and half a dozen other breakaway old soviet republics - and then he went on to play Trump, which has let him break Ukraine completely. Obama at least kept trying to push back on Russian expansion.

              What I actually find more interesting is that Trump, during the Obama administration, created the "birther" movement - an ugly set of outright lies meant ONLY to put Obama under pressure. Mere racism, or was Trump doing russia favors at that time already?

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    Anonymous Coward, 5 Mar 2020 @ 12:26pm

    1A isn't what you've been told by the commie schools. It isn't the establishment of some pseudo-governmental special people called "journalists". It's your right. Mine.

    "The Mueller report showed links between the Russians and the Campaign, but did not find enough evidence to prove a conspiracy -- which is not definitive evidence of no conspiracy."

    That's nice, but there are also links between Obama and Putin, but not enough to prove a conspiracy (see how guilt by association is madness?) "links"! If you went to school, you surely had at least one professor. Your professor surely knew the dean. And the dean surely knew the school president. And the school president surely knew the governor. And the governor surely knew the senator. And the senator the president, and the president Vladimir Putin himself, since they've met. So, now that I've established those "links" we can be confident that accusing of any fanciful crime I imagine is by no means libel, just look at all those "links"!!!

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Mar 2020 @ 12:47pm

      Re:

      Did you forget your meds today?

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    • identicon
      michael, 5 Mar 2020 @ 12:50pm

      Re:

      The black guy hasn't been in office for over 3 years - it's time to stop whining about him.

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      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 5 Mar 2020 @ 12:55pm

        Re: Re:

        Or at least time to dust off the buzzword bingo cards with 'But Obama' on them since they're apparently going to be getting some more use.

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      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 6 Mar 2020 @ 3:24am

        Re: Re:

        "he black guy hasn't been in office for over 3 years - it's time to stop whining about him."

        You're asking a lot. It's pretty obvious that to all too many in the GOP that event is so traumatic the only way you really get an inkling of why they keep bringing it up is by taking out a model and asking "Now, exactly where on this model of the white house did the black man touch you?"

        Deep down a lot of Trump's voterbase simply don't want to know why they had to let go of the plantation labor.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 5 Mar 2020 @ 1:05pm

      I’ve seen just about every shade of “what about Obama”, but this is a new one even for me. How much do you actually hate the fact that a Black man was in the Oval Office for eight years? And how do you feel about the fact that it took a bunch of people with similar hate (and absolutely no hesitation in voting against their own best interests out of hate for a Repugnant Cultural Other or five) voting for an elderly, racist, dishonest sex fiend with the knowledge of an illiterate third grader and the charisma of a post-taco fart whose only real campaign promises were “keep non-Whites from coming into the country and outlaw abortion through judicial activism” to put that “uppity” Black guy “in his place”?

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        Anonymous Coward, 5 Mar 2020 @ 1:16pm

        Re:

        ...and that right there is why we're gonna end up with 4 more years of the Trump administration, folks. As long as Democrats' loudest cheerleaders continue sincerely believing that racism has anything at all to do with anything, they'll continue alienating the honest, decent Americans that they so desperately need to win over, just like they did in 2016 to lose the race.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 5 Mar 2020 @ 1:22pm

          Re: Re:

          Are you going to tell us next that we're divisives right after you refer to us as libtards, snowflakes, and human scum?

          That's typically how this argument goes.

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          • icon
            kag (profile), 6 Mar 2020 @ 7:38am

            Re: Re: Re:

            I have seen "trumptard" countless times on this site in the past day

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2020 @ 11:12pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Knowing how to use a search engine does not mean the rest of us are obligated to worship you on our knees.

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            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 9 Mar 2020 @ 2:12am

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Well, trump is on record for being inept, misogynistic, bigoted, outright racist and of course, very terrible by any standard as a human being.

              We've got some 40 years worth of well-documented history about that without even having to dip in the rapidly deepening cesspool of his presidency.

              "Trumptard" seems to be a very positive relative position as compared to what we could reasonably and accurately refer to his voter base as. Do you even pause for a second to think about the fact that you are cheerleading together with actual self-confessed neo-nazis and the KKK leadership?
              You don't ask yourself one single question as to what that says about the politics you support?

              I personally prefer the epithet of racist or bigot when referring to a trump supporter because I'm not into ableism - and i think the guy who keeps harping on the "trumptard" comment should just refuse to sink to the alt-right troll level - but trump supporters do have a problem establishing credibility when it comes to their claim of being fully functional members of homo sapiens sapiens. There's no getting around that.

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 9 Mar 2020 @ 2:28am

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "I have seen "trumptard" countless times on this site in the past day"

              Huh. I just used the search engine and it returns only 8 results, only one of which is from the last week.

              Could you link to some of the examples missing from that search?

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 9 Mar 2020 @ 5:10am

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              That result would probably be me. But I'm not the one saying we're going to get 4 more years of trump because we're not including the simple-minded dipshits in a conversation about America.

              I'm not of the mindset that you can reason with people who embrace terms like "alternate facts" to support bullshit, and I'm not going to try. To coin my favorite trump tee shirt - fuck your feelings.

              What I'm saying is the party that embraces stupid shit to "own the libs" shouldn't be whining about how divisiveness is a problem.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 5 Mar 2020 @ 1:38pm

          Ah yes, the ol’ “racism is dead” argument, which works perfectly fine until you remember that Donald Trump has spent the better part of his first (and hopefully only) term as President of the United States…

          • trying to build a wall to keep people of color from entering the country

          • trying to deport mass amounts of people of color, regardless of how they entered the country

          • cozying up to White nationalists/supremacists such as Stephen Miller, Steve Bannon, and the “very fine” racist pricks who marched on Charlottesville

          • intentionally and specifically targeting Muslims (read: people of Middle Eastern descent) with two versions of his infamous travel ban before finally getting a third past the Supreme Court

          …and none of that takes into account the sizeable amount of racist activity (including hate crimes) that have happened since Obama’s first inauguration and during Trump’s time in the White House, including a notable rise in the number of active White nationalist/supremacist groups, racist murders such as the Charleston church massacre, and, y’know, fully armed and fully unmasked ‘White Power’-types doing daylight marches and demonstrations across the country.

          White Trump voters are kamikazes for Whiteness. They’ll vote against their own best interests — against the kinds of government programs and initiatives that would help them make a better life — if it means non-Whites won’t have access to those same programs. A poor White Trump voter who could use Medicare For All to improve their overall healthcare situation will, more likely than not, vote against anyone who would make that a reality because that would mean people of color (or even White Democrat voters) could receive that same help. If such people want to destroy their lives so a Repugnant Cultural Other can’t improve theirs, they’re not people who need “winning over” — they’re people who need to be (and can safely be) ignored for the sake of building a better society.

          You can act like racism is dead all you want. Feel free to wallow in your ignorance. But I live in a country where, just this past weekend, a restaurant manager complied with a request from White customers that their food be served by a White person. I harbor no illusions about whether racism is dead in the United States of America. Your illusions to the contrary aren’t my problem to fix.

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        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 6 Mar 2020 @ 3:33am

          Re: Re:

          "As long as Democrats' loudest cheerleaders continue sincerely believing that racism has anything at all to do with anything, they'll continue alienating the honest, decent Americans..."

          The same "honest decent americans" Trump described as the "very fine people" who marched in favor of the KKK and bona fide nazism in Charlottesville?

          You can keep calling it "cheerleading" as you like but it doesn't change the fact that describing two sides, one of whom is wearing a swastika and holding a confederate flag while screaming racial slurs, as "fine people" means nothing more and nothing less than admitting that in Trump's own opinion, actual racism is "just fine".

          Sorry, but when the leader of the KKK publicly supports Trump and Trump - unlike ANY OTHER presidential candidate - fails to even disavow himself of that support - then what you have is a president who in his own deeds and words has already proven himself as racist as the people who didn't see anything wrong with jim crow.

          But you do you. The rest of us are just going to call that burning cross of yours for what it is.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Mar 2020 @ 1:14pm

      Re:

      So, now that I've established those "links" we can be confident that accusing of any fanciful crime I imagine is by no means libel, just look at all those "links"!!!

      Yep, you sure convinced me there's a link between Obama and Putin.

      If he was only still president, I might actually give something of a fuck.

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    • icon
      wshuff (profile), 6 Mar 2020 @ 4:53am

      Re:

      Anonymous Coward speaks the bullshit.

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  • icon
    virusdetected (profile), 5 Mar 2020 @ 12:32pm

    Just another leg in the disinformation campaign

    None of these lawsuits are supposed to result in an actual trial. They are just more contributors to the disinformation campaign. Now that they are in legal documents, they will be repeated, blindly, as truths. By November we will know whether a well-managed campaign based on lies, half-truths, rumors, and random nonsense will win over supposedly rational people. If so, now would be a good time to revisit the decline and fall of ancient Athens, before all the history books are revised to only reflect the emperor's truth.

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 5 Mar 2020 @ 12:32pm

    'Do I agree with it? Then it deserves protection.'

    I wish the two of them would remember that sometimes.

    Oh I almost guarantee that they do, however they also know that there's no real penalty for bogus PR lawsuits like this, making them a relatively cheap and effective way to play up to the gullible fools that see them suing newspapers for opinion pieces and are too stupid to see that that standard could easily be turned against them in turn, and of course there's the gross hypocrisy of only considering speech they agree with to be worth protecting that I've little doubt Trump at least holds dear, since obviously any speech that's critical of him simply must be defamatory and false, and therefore not deserving of first amendment protections.

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  • icon
    Bodger (profile), 5 Mar 2020 @ 1:25pm

    Sure?

    "...(not something he can write away with an executive order)." When you have the Senate and Supreme Court on a short leash almost anything is doable, constitution and laws be damned. This is especially so in an election year when the "base" is slavering for liberal blood both literally and figuratively.

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    • icon
      Thad (profile), 6 Mar 2020 @ 7:50am

      Re: Sure?

      When you have the Senate and Supreme Court on a short leash almost anything is doable, constitution and laws be damned.

      I'm not aware of the Supreme Court overturning any defamation rulings on the Trump Administration's behalf. Do you have a citation for that, or are you just making irrelevant generalizations that don't apply to the specific story we're talking about?

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    • icon
      kag (profile), 6 Mar 2020 @ 9:02am

      Re: Sure?

      It says quite a bit when this echo chamber nominated this idiotic comment as "Insightful"

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2020 @ 11:14pm

        Re: Re: Sure?

        Do you think Shiva Ayyadurai invented email?

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      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 9 Mar 2020 @ 2:18am

        Re: Re: Sure?

        "It says quite a bit when this echo chamber nominated this idiotic comment as "Insightful""

        Well, yes. It says that the comment held a great deal of observable yet objectionable truth.

        When the president of the united states is on record for calling the swastika-swinging, confederate flag-waving racits screaming racial slurs in the streets of charlottesville, "some very fine people" then we already have observational proof that the president's voter base is indeed slavering for blood.

        Your seem dead-set on trying to empty the ocean of Trump gaffes using a plastic pail and scoop, one sentence at a time. That...just isn't going to work.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Mar 2020 @ 1:29pm

    That is easily, and fairly, turned into the statement in the Post opinion piece that the Campaign was "inviting" foreign help. There is no way that such a statement could or would be seen as defamatory.

    It's not defamatory, but certainly not accurate. He never asks anyone to provide information, or says that they should. He doesn't even answer the question that was asked; he says he'd like to hear it, but doesn't say that he would. (He probably would, but more mature people sometimes avoid doing the things they'd like to, for ethical reasons.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Mar 2020 @ 1:30pm

      Re:

      He probably would, but more mature people sometimes avoid doing the things they'd like to, for ethical reasons.

      Sure, Jan.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 5 Mar 2020 @ 1:45pm

      He never asks anyone to provide information, or says that they should.

      And a mob boss never directly asks anyone to whack a snitch, but the snitch gets whacked all the same.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Mar 2020 @ 7:56am

        Re:

        And a mob boss never directly asks anyone to whack a snitch

        Is there any evidence to suggest that Trump could think of saying something, and then consider the implications and have the self-restraint to not say it?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Mar 2020 @ 2:53pm

    A lot of those articles blur the line between opinion and fact.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Rico R. (profile), 5 Mar 2020 @ 3:20pm

    We need a Trumpian dictionary to understand POTUS's terms!

    Defamation, noun. Any written piece that is negative towards the President of the United States. See also, Fake News.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 8 Mar 2020 @ 11:43pm

      Re: We need a Trumpian dictionary to understand POTUS's terms!

      "towards the Republican President of the United States."

      FTFY. You can guarantee that they will demand the right to outright defame the presidency once another party is in power.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 9 Mar 2020 @ 3:01am

        Re: Re: We need a Trumpian dictionary to understand POTUS's term

        "You can guarantee that they will demand the right to outright defame the presidency once another party is in power."

        Depends. They still kept their gloves on, to some degree, with Bill Clinton in the oval office.

        I think what really broke the GOP voter base was when Obama took office and they had to face the cognitive dissonance of being expected to respect a black man as if, you know, he was as human as they were.

        Trump's promises were all over the place but what really carried him with much of the pond scum keeping him afloat was his outspoken promise - since largely carried out - of removing every trace that a black man ever held the highest office in the land.

        In his next election he's basically guaranteed a large number of votes as long as he's shown wiping every office in the oval office with a sponge in one hand and a bottle of disinfectant in the other.

        Those "very fine people" will have his back. It's up to the actual human beings to outvote them.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Thad (profile), 9 Mar 2020 @ 9:27am

          Re: Re: Re: We need a Trumpian dictionary to understand POTUS's

          Depends. They still kept their gloves on, to some degree, with Bill Clinton in the oval office.

          They called him a rapist and impeached him.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 10 Mar 2020 @ 2:39am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: We need a Trumpian dictionary to understand POTU

            "They called him a rapist and impeached him."

            Like I said; They kept the gloves on.

            during Obama's presidency the main gist of the story offered in public was the hypothesis that he was a muslim fanatic born in Kenya who was infiltrated into the US solely to hand the "land of the free" over to terrorists and sex traffickers in the middle east.

            Clinton got off easy in comparison to the republican view of Obama.

            Consider, for a moment, that the only thing Trump has actually managed to accomplish for his electorate at all is to wipe away every trace there ever was a black man in the white house.

            And his voters love him for it.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 10 Mar 2020 @ 4:36am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: We need a Trumpian dictionary to understand

              "Clinton got off easy in comparison to the republican view of Obama."

              Not really. The stuff you stated about Obama was not only utterly ridiculous, it actually distracted from the real scandals. Birthers and people whining about the suit/mustard/lettuce he was using meant that things that could actually cause issues on a logical basis were ignored. No intelligent person was taking the whining seriously, and the gloves were on because they failed to fight on the matters that actually carried weight.

              Meanwhile, Clinton got everything thrown at him, from murder conspiracies to property corruption theories, up until they had something impeachable - which was him lying about a consensual sexual affair that had no business being brought up in a congress hearing in the first place. The attacks continued, to the point where the old, widely disproven scandals were being used as an excuse to attack his wife's campaign, presumably so that they didn't have to explain why the bankrupt, self-confessed serial sexual abuser with mob ties was more moral than the straight-up family guy he was replacing.

              "And his voters love him for it"

              It's a cult. They'll find some way to blame Democrats for any failing of Trump's policies, but race is not the primary factor in that. It just helped speed up the ability for them to be open about the insanity.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 11 Mar 2020 @ 7:46am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: We need a Trumpian dictionary to underst

                "No intelligent person was taking the whining seriously, and the gloves were on because they failed to fight on the matters that actually carried weight."

                I read that differently. The GOP completely losing its marbles and reducing itself to a herd of chimps hurling abuse and poop from the treetops doesn't signify the gloves were on - it just means they completely dropped every pretense of civilization. The whole of he GOP voter base focused on obamas skin color, medicare (the "death squad" spin)...everything to turn him into the caricature of sheer dark-skinned evil the KKK tried to push for so long.

                They never challenged him on actual problems with his politics simply because they hated him to the point they wouldn't even admit he HAD politics worth discussing. That's the root cause of that failure. The few remaining upright conservatives might as well have been pissing in the wind trying to bring actual problems to the table when their colleagues were chanting "DEATH SQUADS!" in hysteria while choking in apoplectics over the fact that a black man was sitting in the white house.

                "...to the point where the old, widely disproven scandals were being used as an excuse to attack his wife's campaign, presumably so that they didn't have to explain why the bankrupt, self-confessed serial sexual abuser with mob ties was more moral than the straight-up family guy he was replacing."

                Clinton was white. They had control enough to go after him using "normal" abuse of law and process.
                It sounds remarkable that a persistent mudslinging campaign of the type you factually describe can be considered "gloves on" - but for the republican party, it was. They considered Clinton a human enemy.

                Obama they just viewed as that subhuman tainting the sacred halls of the white man with his presence. Choked with outrage over that affrontery they couldn't even muster what they considered "civilized" opposition.

                That's why I say that with Clinton, the gloves were on.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 11 Mar 2020 @ 8:00am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: We need a Trumpian dictionary to underst

                "It's a cult. They'll find some way to blame Democrats for any failing of Trump's policies, but race is not the primary factor in that."

                I beg to differ. Look at the way the right wing reacted to Obama - from his candidacy to right now, today. Remind them that the 44th president was a black man and they completely lose their shit, degenerating almost instantly to a storm of abuse which makes you think you were sitting on the front row seats two hours into a KKK pep rally.

                Now look at the reaction from the GOP about Trump's "Very Fine People" comment. A very few congressmen and elderly statesmen slowly backing off with startled horror in their eyes, with the rest of them silently strutting around with an extra dollop of "smug" added to their usual casual arrogance.

                Trump isn't a Hitler. He doesn't have the charisma, savant abilities or the rhetoric to be anything other than an embarrassment. What he is, however, is a symbol.

                Cult is right. But the motto of that cult isn't aimed at democrats or socialism - hell, if it were, how come sanders doesn't catch a tenth of the flak Obama got?
                The motto of that cult is simple. "Make America White Again". Every laid-off worker, trailer trash, confederate romanticist and anachronistic neocon keeps returning to the idea that the reason they're not living the american dream can all be blamed - somehow - on "decent white people" losing their grip on the US of A.

                It's just that the majority of the GOP doesn't want to realize or admit that being opposed to black people having parity IS in fact, a racist ideal.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 11 Mar 2020 @ 8:30am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: We need a Trumpian dictionary to und

                  "Look at the way the right wing reacted to Obama"

                  ...and look at the way they reacted to Clinton. It was less open, because the more extreme morons were quarantined from the major population to a certain degree back then, but Bush - and by extension the holy Reagan - losing power made a lot of them lose their minds as well.

                  This is not a new thing. Obama made some of the more overt racism take centre stage, but this predates him by a long stretch.

                  "Trump isn't a Hitler."

                  Go back to the early 30s, and Hitler wasn't Hitler either, at least in the way we know him today. Although, many have noted that he was just a symbol himself and more evil people were working behind the scenes to create the real horrors.

                  "hell, if it were, how come sanders doesn't catch a tenth of the flak Obama got?"

                  The guy who was just faced with a Nazi flag at one of his recent rallies and has been attacked as a communist since he first decided to run?

                  I get what you're saying. But, reducing this down to racism as the only issue is dishonest.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    Thad (profile), 13 Mar 2020 @ 10:19am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: We need a Trumpian dictionary to

                    ...and look at the way they reacted to Clinton. It was less open, because the more extreme morons were quarantined from the major population to a certain degree back then

                    I think that's part of it too. Fox News was just starting to break out as the right-wing propaganda machine and didn't have nearly the reach or the influence it has today. Likewise, the Internet wasn't magnifying fringe views to the extent that it is today.

                    The Clinton Chronicles was out there, but it was on VHS and you had to order it by mail. Prominent conservative figures like Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh touted it, so it wasn't exactly obscure, but neither could people just punch it up on YouTube, and it wasn't the top story on the biggest cable news network night after night.

                    The attacks and conspiracy theories against the Clintons weren't racist (though there was a healthy dose of misogyny in anything they said about Hillary), but they were pretty wild and they were pretty pernicious. If they were less prominent than the "secret Kenyan Muslim" conspiracy theories, that's not for lack of trying; it's because the right-wing media pushing them didn't have quite the same reach as the right-wing media of today.

                    And, not for nothin', there was never a special counsel investigating whether or not Obama was a secret Kenyan Muslim. There was a special counsel investigating whether Vince Foster was murdered.

                    I think to a certain extent SDM is focusing on the viciousness of what right-wingers said during those two administrations and not what Republicans in power actually did. They hassled and harassed and undermined Obama at every turn, but they never even came close to impeaching him.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Thad (profile), 13 Mar 2020 @ 10:08am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: We need a Trumpian dictionary to understand

              during Obama's presidency the main gist of the story offered in public was the hypothesis that he was a muslim fanatic born in Kenya who was infiltrated into the US solely to hand the "land of the free" over to terrorists and sex traffickers in the middle east.

              And the Clintons were responsible for a series of secret murders (and, more recently, involved in a pedophile ring in the basement of a pizza parlor).

              The conspiracy theories the right pushed against Clinton and Obama were both heinous. You can certainly make an argument that the ones against Obama were worse -- they had that nasty, unmistakable undercurrent of racism, after all -- but only one of those two presidents was impeached.

              Impeachment isn't "gloves on". It's Congress's ultimate method of bringing down a president, and it's only been used four times in the history of the nation (including Nixon, who wasn't actually impeached but may as well have been).

              Insofar as the Republicans attempted to use the powers of Congress to launch frivolous investigations of Obama, the most prominent one of those was still really targeting the Clintons -- not Bill, but Hillary.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Mar 2020 @ 5:12pm

    What a hypocrite!

    and it is not ok when he does it

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ed (profile), 6 Mar 2020 @ 9:23am

    With Bezos deep pockets...

    ... wouldn't it be interesting if WaPo didn't try for an easy dismissal but instead let it go to discovery. In discovery, they could get Trump on the stand, under oath. After all, it is Trump who is suing, he'd have to comply.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 6 Mar 2020 @ 10:04am

      Re: With Bezos deep pockets...

      Donald "Obstruction of Justice" Trump on the stand being useful? I doubt it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 6 Mar 2020 @ 1:16pm

      Re: With Bezos deep pockets...

      Until last week when he tapped lawyer Charles Harder (who, we'll remind you, was the lawyer in the lawsuit against us), to represent the Trump Campaign (rather than Donald directly) to sue the NY Times over an opinion piece.

      In addition to what Toom pointed out it's the campaign suing, not Trump directly, so I imagine they'd wiggle like mad to say that he has nothing to do with it and therefore isn't relevant to the case.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    wshuff (profile), 6 Mar 2020 @ 8:25pm

    Donald Trump would maybe admit to hearing of Charles Harder, but he would deny knowing him, and he would deny any connection to the Trump campaign.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Nazmul (profile), 16 Mar 2020 @ 4:25am

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    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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