Trump defends lawsuit over NYT op-ed, calling it 'beyond an opinion'

President TrumpDonald John TrumpWinners and losers from the South Carolina debate Five takeaways from the Democratic debate Democrats duke it out in most negative debate so far MORE on Wednesday defended his campaign’s decision to sue The New York Times for libel over a 2019 op-ed, calling the piece “beyond an opinion” and saying there “will be more coming.”

“Well, when they get the opinion totally wrong, as The New York Times did, and, frankly, they’ve got a lot wrong over the last number of years,” Trump told reporters at a rare White House press briefing. “Let that work its way through the courts.”

Trump was asked by a reporter whether he was contending that someone who has an opinion contrary to his own should be sued. Trump insisted the op-ed was “not an opinion” and accused the publication of doing a “bad thing.”

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“If you read it, you’ll see. It’s beyond an opinion. That’s not an opinion. That’s much more than an opinion,” the president said. “They did a bad thing, and there will be more coming.”

The Trump campaign on Wednesday sued the Times for libel, alleging the publication knowingly published information that was false in a March 2019 op-ed written by former Times Executive Editor Max Frankel. The suit accuses the Times of intentionally defaming Trump with the op-ed.

The piece, published following the conclusion of former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerCNN’s Toobin warns McCabe is in ‘perilous condition’ with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill’s 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE’s Russia investigation, argued that there was an “overarching deal” between the Trump campaign and Russia to help Trump get elected. 

A Times spokesman indicated that the paper would fight the suit.

“The Trump Campaign has turned to the courts to try to punish an opinion writer for having an opinion they find unacceptable,” the spokesman said in a statement. “Fortunately, the law protects the right of Americans to express their judgments and conclusions, especially about events of public importance. We look forward to vindicating that right in this case.”

The lawsuit is likely to face considerable challenges given that the Supreme Court has restricted the ability of public officials to file defamation suits.

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