Burned by book, Trump takes issue with nation's libel laws - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Burned by book, Trump takes issue with nation's libel laws

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci). President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, in Washington. From left, Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Trump. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci). President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, in Washington. From left, Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Trump.
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster). President Donald Trump arrives for a news conference with Norway Prime Minister Erna Solberg in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster). President Donald Trump arrives for a news conference with Norway Prime Minister Erna Solberg in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018.

By JILL COLVIN
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump said he's going to be taking "a strong look at our country's libel laws," blasting the current standards as "a sham and a disgrace."

Speaking during a Cabinet meeting Wednesday, Trump said that people shouldn't be able to say things that are false and then "smile as money pours into your bank account."

"Our current libel laws are a sham and a disgrace, and do not represent American values or American fairness," he said. "We're going to take a very, very strong look at that. And I think what the American people want to see is fairness."

Trump's renewed calls to make it easier to sue for defamation come following the publication of an unflattering new book by author Michael Wolff. "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House" portrays the 45th president as surrounded by aides who believe he's unfit for the office he holds. He and other White House aides have blasted the book as inaccurate trash.

Brian Hauss, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement that Trump's threat lacks teeth.

"There is no federal libel law, and the president does not have the authority to change state libel laws," he said, adding that the "First Amendment provides strong protections against libel liability, particularly with respect to statements about public figures or matters of public concern."

"Whatever President Trump might think, he has no power to override these constitutional protections," Hauss added.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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