16- Defamation
Play episode · 22 min

Trump likes to threaten the press with libel lawsuits. What does the Constitution have to say about defamation and the press?

LRC Presents: All the President's Lawyers
LRC Presents: All the President's Lawyers
KCRW
What is an official act?
Jean Carroll accused President Trump of raping her in the 1990s. The president crassly denied her allegation, and she sued him for defamation, saying that he defamed her by calling her a liar. The federal government has sought to intervene here, stepping into Trump’s shoes and becoming the defendant in the case, and now they are arguing that when the president said he didn’t rape Carroll and that she is “not [his] type,” he was acting in his official capacity as president. Is the Justice Department right about that? And with the Department of Justice stepping in for the president in the defamation suit, which effectively makes it impossible for the suit to proceed, doesn’t this elevate the president above the law — in this case, defamation law? What about another instance, where the Department of Justice is arguing that when President Trump tweeted an order to declassify all documents related to the Russia investigation and Hillary Clinton’s emails...that was *not* him acting in his official capacity? The Department of Justice is also suing Stephanie Wolkoff, the former aide to First Lady Melania Trump, saying her tell-all book violated a nondisclosure agreement and therefore her book proceeds should be forfeited to the government. DOJ argues: "such accounts purporting to disclose internal policy deliberations undermine the expectation of future Presidents and First Ladies that their confidential deliberations will be protected and preserved from the public glare. The President’s policy conversations are self-evidently core matters on which the President is entitled to receive confidential advice without fear that such internal deliberations will be leaked to the press." This seems like a major expansion of executive privilege, and by the way, FLOTUS is not a federal employee, so should the government be defending her interests in court? Plus: Hunter Biden’s laptop and Rudy Giuliani, a remarkable First Amendment argument from Devin Nunes, and major Republican fundraiser Elliot Broidy pleads guilty and agrees to cooperate with investigators.
28 min
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