Trump Suggests Changing Libel Laws in Response to 'Fabricated' Woodward Book


President Donald Trump signaled his desire to loosen libel laws in a tweet posted Wednesday morning.

The message came in the wake of a series of excerpts from veteran journalist Bob Woodward’s latest book, which paints an unflattering portrait of the early Trump administration, The Hill reported.

“Isn’t it a shame that someone can write an article or book, totally make up stories and form a picture of a person that is literally the exact opposite of the fact, and get away with it without retribution or cost,” he tweeted.

Without mentioning “Fear: Trump in the White House” directly, Trump ended his tweet by asking “Don’t know why Washington politicians don’t change libel laws?”

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The president’s attorney also mentioned libel in a tweet about the book.

Rudy Giuliani wrote that he took issue with one passage, in particular, calling it “entirely false.”

Giuliani was apparently referencing an excerpt that claims Trump called him a “baby” after seeing his performance on a news program amid campaign-season fallout over the “Access Hollywood” tape.

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“I’ve never seen a worse defense in my life,” Trump said, according to Woodward’s account. “They took your diaper off right there. You’re like a little baby that needed to be changed. When are you going to be a man?”

Giuliani tweeted that he would add his name to the list of administration insiders who dispute the accuracy of quotes attributed to them.

“Joining Generals Matthis and Kelly and John Dowd and Jay Sekulow,” he wrote. “His incident about me entirely false. 20 to 30 witnesses saw it and can say he or his source are liars.”

The former New York City mayor said Woodward did not contact him prior to the book’s completion.

“Most important for libel purposes, he never called me,” Giuliani wrote. “Didn’t want to know truth.”

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Though some of those people named in the book now deny the quotes, Woodward — whose reporting exposed the Watergate-era corruption that brought down the Nixon administration — is receiving bipartisan endorsements for his journalist credibility ahead of the book’s publication next week.

“I’ve been on the receiving end of a Bob Woodward book,” wrote Ari Fleisher, a press secretary for the second Bush administration. “There were quotes in it I didn’t like. But never once – never – did I think Woodward made it up. Anonymous sources have looser lips and may take liberties. But Woodward always plays it straight. Someone told it to him.”

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Chris Agee is an American journalist with more than 15 years of experience in a wide range of newsrooms.
Chris Agee is an American journalist with more than 15 years of experience in a variety of newsroom settings. After covering crime and other beats for newspapers and radio stations across the U.S., he served as managing editor at Western Journalism until 2017. He has also been a regular guest and guest host on several syndicated radio programs. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife and son.
Texas Press Association, Best News Writing - 2012
Bachelor of Arts, Journalism - Averett University
Professional Memberships
Online News Association
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment