Reince Priebus: White House Has ‘Looked At’ Changing Libel Laws [VIDEO]

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Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
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The White House has considered pushing for a constitutional amendment to make it easier to sue news outlets for printing inaccurate stories, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said Sunday.

Priebus was asked during an interview on ABC’s “This Week” about President Trump’s past calls for a review of libel laws. Host Jonathan Karl noted that a constitutional amendment would have to be passed to change the laws at the federal level.

“Is [Trump] going to pursue that?” Karl asked.

“I think it’s something we have looked at, and how that gets executed or whether that goes anywhere is a different story,” Priebus said.

He went on to complain about reports using anonymous sources alleging that Trump and some of his associates have ties to the Russian government.

“I think this is a frustration of unnamed sources of things that the FBI has told me personally is complete BS, written in a newspaper article, in my office, one on one, ‘this, here, is not true,'” he lamented.

Priebus, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, was referencing a conversation he had in February with FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe about reports from CNN and The New York Times claiming that federal investigators have evidence that former Trump campaign advisers were in frequent contact with Kremlin operatives.

Priebus says that he met with McCabe on the sidelines of a White House meeting after the articles were published and that McCabe dismissed them as “B.S.” (RELATED: FBI Told White House Russia Collusion Story Was ‘BS’)

The FBI has confirmed that it is conducting an investigation of Trump associates and their potential ties to the Russian government.

Trump has called for changing libel laws several times in the past.

“I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money,” Trump said at a rally in February.

He said he wanted to change the laws so that when outlets like The Times or The Washington Post publish “hit pieces” on him, “we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they’re totally protected.”

Though Trump singled out The Times and The Post in that diatribe, he speaks frequently with reporters from those outlets. Likewise, contrary to Priebus’ frustration over the use of anonymous sources, he frequently talks with reporters on background.

If the White House did propose changing the constitution to expand libel laws, it would have almost no chance of success. Amendments proposed through Congress require support from at least two-thirds of both the House and Senate. Amendments proposed through state legislatures also require support from two-thirds of state houses.


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