How Viable Are Trump's Libel Threats? Experts Weigh In

President Donald Trump held a rare open meeting with lawmakers on immigration policy in the Cabinet Room of the White House on Tuesday allowing the press to watch legislative sausage being made firsthand

He called the country's current laws "a sham and a disgrace", claiming that they "don't represent American values or American fairness".

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". "So we're going to take a strong look at that".

To prove libel, a public figure must show a writer or publisher acted with actual malice in publishing a false statement.

Under current US libel and defamation laws, which staunchly protect the First Amendment, would-be plaintiffs must prove that a media company knowingly and purposefully published false information, which is a very high bar to clear. Those calls have drawn sharp denunciations from legal scholars and news organizations.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday said his administration is going to take a "strong look" at United States libel laws, days after he denounced a "fake book" offering an inside look at the White House.

Trump's statements - in the context of a meeting with ministers about his agenda - are likely to raise concerns about curbs on free speech.

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"Where are you from?" the president asked, according to two officials with direct knowledge of the exchange. Trump recited a number of accomplishments from his administration, including the tax bill that passed a year ago, the rising economy and the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

Before the press was ushered out of the cabinet meeting, Trump said, "We want fairness".

The president reiterated his approach to immigration and border security, saying, "We are also making America safe again".

"Somebody said to me on that, they said, 'You know, it's a great idea softening up those laws, but you may get sued a lot more, '" Mr. Trump, who propagated false rumors that Barack Obama was born in Africa and that the father of Senator Ted Cruz had aided the assassination of John F. Kennedy, said at the time. "While he can say what he wants, thankfully the President cannot change our laws, much less amend the Constitution".

The president seemed buoyant after his lengthy immigration meeting Tuesday, in which he allowed reporters to watch 55 minutes of negotiations between Republicans and Democrats, with him leading the charge.

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