Trump legal team blasts explosive Michael Wolff book in cease-and-desist letter

President Donald Trump’s lawyer, Charles Harder, has demanded on behalf of his client that author Michael Wolff and his publisher immediately “cease and desist from any further publication, release or dissemination” of a forthcoming book, “Fire and Fury, according to a letter obtained by ABC News.

The book is scheduled to be released next week but excerpts have caused a stir.

“We are investigating numerous false and/or baseless statements that you have made about Mr. Trump,” the lawyer wrote to Wolff.

The letter goes on to say they are looking into possible defamation of Trump and his family and invasion of privacy.

The lengthy letter to Wolff and Henry Holt and Co. Inc. goes on to accuse the author of actual malice.

It states, “Actual malice (reckless disregard for the truth) can be proven by the fact that the Book admits in the Introduction that it contains untrue statements. Moreover, the Book appears to cite to no sources for many of its most damaging statements about Mr. Trump. Also, many of your so-called ‘sources’ have stated publicly that they never spoke to Mr. Wolff and/or never made the statements that are being attributed to them. Other alleged ‘sources’ of statements about Mr. Trump are believed to have no personal knowledge of the facts upon which they are making statements or are known to be unreliable and/or strongly biased against Mr. Trump.”

Harder sent a similar letter to former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon Wednesday night demanding he cease and desist from making allegedly false statements against the president and his family.

Bannon has not responded to ABC News’ request for comment. Wolff and his publisher have also not responded.

Earlier Wednesday, Trump hit back at Bannon in scathing comments, saying that when Bannon was fired “he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.”

President Trump’s comments, which came in the form of a written statement from the White House, were in response to Bannon’s strident criticism of Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort for sitting down with a group of Russians who promised damaging information against Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election in excerpts from Wolff’s new book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House”.

“Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency. When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind. Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating seventeen candidates, often described as the most talented field ever assembled in the Republican party,” the president said in a statement. “Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn’t as easy as I make it look. Steve had very little to do with our historic victory, which was delivered by the forgotten men and women of this country. Yet Steve had everything to do with the loss of a Senate seat in Alabama held for more than thirty years by Republicans. Steve doesn’t represent my base — he’s only in it for himself.”

[ABC News]


Man who lead the racist birther movement upset with book of “false” claims about him.

Trump Reportedly Threatened USGA With Lawsuit If It Moved Women’s Open

U.S. Golf Association executive director Mike Davis told members of the USGA’s executive committee that Donald Trump threatened to sue the organization if it moved the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open from Trump National Golf Club in Bedminister, N.J., according to a person with direct knowledge of the meeting.

Davis informed the USGA executive committee about Trump’s threat on a conference call about two years ago, just as Trump was beginning his successful campaign for president, according to the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the USGA has not publicly discussed the matter.

Davis, who told the group he and other USGA officials had met with Trump, told the executive committee, “We can’t get out of this. He’s going to sue us,” according to the person.

Reached on his cell phone Monday morning at Trump National, where the U.S. Women’s Open takes place this week, Davis said, “I have no comment on that. It would be inappropriate if I said that it happened or that it didn’t.”

Davis added later in a statement to USA TODAY Sports: “As a matter of policy, the terms of our contracts with championship host sites are confidential and accordingly the USGA will not comment. We are excited that our U.S. Women’s Open Championship week has begun and are focused on providing the ultimate test of golf for the best female players in the world.”

Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime attorney, referred request for comment to Trump organization executive vice president and chief legal officer Alan Garten and Trump organization executive vice president of development Larry Glick. USA TODAY Sports left messages for both men as well as two officials at Trump National in Bedminster Monday afternoon. None of the messages has been returned.

The USGA’s choice of Trump National to host the crown jewel of women’s golf was barely noticed when it was announced in 2012. That began to change in the spring of 2015, according to the person, with Trump’s interest in and subsequent announcement that he was going to run for president.

“More than anything, it was very pre-emptive, before the storm if he did get elected president,” the person said. “We were starting to get some pressure and so it was brought up and he said he would sue us if we moved it.”

Then, in October 2016, during the final weeks of the presidential campaign, the infamous Access Hollywood video tape was made public, on which Trump is shown bragging that his celebrity status allowed him to grope women without having to worry about ramifications. This was particularly embarrassing for the USGA, which, as the national governing body for golf in the United States, has sought for years to attract more women and girls to a game with a history of discriminatory and exclusionary practices at private clubs.

After the Access Hollywood tape surfaced, three U.S. senators — Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) — sent a letter to the USGA asking that the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open not be played at Trump National.

“The decision that the USGA makes is more consequential than simply the geographic location of a golf tournament,” the senators wrote. “In declining future association with a brand that degrades women, the USGA and LPGA have an opportunity to make clear to the world, and most especially young Americans, that our nation will not tolerate nor do business with any company that condones or excuses action that constitutes sexual assault.”

The USGA declined to move the tournament, which begins Thursday morning at Trump National.

“Let me make it very clear,” Davis told reporters in May, “that when we came here, it was all about coming to a great golf course playing the greatest championship in women’s golf. The USGA, since its founding in 1894, has never been involved with politics. Our focus is solely on the game of golf. We appreciate that there’s some out there that want to make this a political event. We’re not. This is a golf event of the United States Golf Association. We’re really excited about this.”

[USA Today]



Trump Sued for Not Releasing White House Visitor Logs

Three organizations are suing the Trump administration for not making public the logs that show who is visiting the White House.

The National Security Archive, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), and the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University have all filed a suit under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) calling for the release of the logs.

The suit has formally been filed against the Department of Homeland Security, as the organizations say the Secret Service has not provided the log information despite FOIA requests.

We hoped that the Trump administration would follow the precedent of the Obama administration and continue to release visitor logs, but unfortunately they have not,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a statement.

“Given the many issues we have already seen in this White House with conflicts of interest, outside influence, and potential ethics violations, transparency is more important than ever, so we had no choice but to sue.”

The three groups are asking not only for the records of who is visiting the White House, but for records that show who is meeting the president at his private properties in New York and Florida.

President Trump has frequently met with world leaders at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, most recently when he conferred with Chinese President Xi Jinping last week.

The Obama administration said in September 2009 that it would begin releasing the logs after CREW filed multiple lawsuits, the organization said.

“President Obama routinely released the data we’re seeking with no damage to presidential privilege, and this information is central to the Secret Service mission and thus clearly agency records subject to FOIA,” Tom Blanton, the director of the National Security Archive, said in a statement.

Another employee of the National Security Archive said it filed the first FOIA related to Trump on Jan. 23.

(h/t The Hill)

Judge to Trump: No Protection for Campaign Rally Speech Inciting Violence

Trump at rally in Louisville, Kentucky

A federal judge has rejected President Donald Trump’s free speech defense against a lawsuit accusing him of inciting violence against protesters at a campaign rally.

Trump’s lawyers sought to dismiss the lawsuit by three protesters who say they were roughed up by his supporters at a March 1, 2016 rally in Louisville, Kentucky. They argued that Trump didn’t intend for his supporters to use force.

Two women and a man say they were shoved and punched by audience members at Trump’s command. Much of it was captured on video and widely broadcast during the campaign, showing Trump pointing at the protesters and repeating “get them out.”

Judge David J. Hale in Louisville ruled Friday that the suit against Trump, his campaign and three of his supporters can proceed. Hale found ample facts supporting allegations that the protesters’ injuries were a “direct and proximate result” of Trump’s actions, and noted that the Supreme Court has ruled out constitutional protections for speech that incites violence.

“It is plausible that Trump’s direction to ‘get ’em out of here’ advocated the use of force,” the judge wrote. “It was an order, an instruction, a command.”

Plaintiffs Kashiya Nwanguma, Molly Shah and Henry Brousseau allege that they were physically attacked by several members of the audience, including Matthew Heimbach, Alvin Bamberger and an unnamed defendant they have yet to be able to identify.

Bamberger later apologized to the Korean War Veterans Association, whose uniform he wore at the rally. He wrote that he “physically pushed a young woman down the aisle toward the exit” after “Trump kept saying ‘get them out, get them out,” according to the lawsuit.

Heimbach, for his part, sought to dismiss the lawsuit’s discussion of his association with a white nationalist group and of statements he made about how Trump could advance the group’s interests. The judge declined, saying such information could be important context when determining punitive damages.

The judge also declined to remove allegations that Nwanguma, an African-American, was the victim of racial, ethnic and sexist slurs from the crowd at the rally. This context may support the plaintiffs’ claims of negligence and incitement by Trump and his campaign, the judge said.

“While the words themselves are repulsive, they are relevant to show the atmosphere in which the alleged events occurred,” Hale wrote.

Lawyers for Trump and his campaign also argued that they cannot be held liable because they had no duty to the plaintiffs, who assumed the risk of injury when they decided to protest at the rally. The judge countered that under the law, every person has a duty to every other person to use care to prevent foreseeable injury.

“In sum, the Court finds that Plaintiffs have adequately alleged that their harm was foreseeable and that the Trump Defendants had a duty to prevent it,” the judge ruled, referring the case to a federal magistrate, Judge H. Brent Brennenstuhl, to handle preliminary litigation, discovery and settlement efforts.

(h/t NBC News)


You can watch the separate events here:

And here:


Trump Lawyers Go After to Teen Who Operates Site That Shows Kittens Punching Him

A new report indicates that Donald Trump‘s lawyers have gone after a teen who operates a gag site.

Interestingly, the report is from the Observer, which is owned by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Perhaps more interesting — the site that received the cease and desist order is one that shows the president being punched by kittens. We’d link to the site, but one of the URLs leads to a 404 error message and the other now leads to porn, courtesy of an opportunistic entrepreneur of some sort.

Anyway, it was created by a 17-year-old girl identified as Lucy. Lucy loves to code and created the site as a “fun little” project to show off her technical skills. The teen had this to say:

I was going to just let this go, but I think it’s, pardon my French, fucking outrageous that the President of the United States has his team scouring the internet for sites like mine to send out cease and desists and legal action claims if we don’t shut down. Meanwhile, he tweets about The Apprentice ratings and sends out power-drunk tweets about phone tapping. HOW ABOUT BEING THE PRESIDENT?

When The Hollywood Reporter caught up to her, Lucy said, “I really just want people to be aware that this is a president who’s clearly more concerned about what people think of him than doing things of substance.”

Litigation is common for the First Family. Melania Trump has sued over reports she was once an escort. Notably, she went after a 69-year-old blogger.

(h/t Mediate)

Trump Preps for Presidency as He Attempts to Sue a Painter Out of Business

After his election, Donald Trump quickly settled a series of business disputes — but just days before his inauguration, the president-elect’s company is still waging a legal battle against a Florida shop owner over an unpaid bill.

The matter could have been settled for what amounts to pocket change for a billionaire, but the Trump Organization decided to take its chances in court.

Now Trump stands to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars. And if he wins, it could force a small businessman — one of hundreds who say they were stiffed by Trump over the years — possibly into bankruptcy.

That businessman, Juan Carlos Enriquez, owner of The Paint Spot, won the first round of the legal skirmish last summer when a judge found a lien he slapped on the Trump National Doral golf resort was valid.

The court ordered Trump to pay for $32,000 worth of paint, plus nearly $300,000 in legal fees. Trump’s company appealed, and barring a last-minute resolution, the case will be pending when he takes office; the deadline for final briefs is two days before he becomes the most powerful person in America.

Enriquez’s lawyer, Daniel Vega, said he is not surprised it has gone this far.

“The Trump litigation team litigated this case from day one like lions on fresh meat and continue to do so now on appeal,” he told NBC News.

The matter dates back to the fall of 2013 when Enriquez, who owns three Miami paint stores, was tapped by a subcontractor to supply paint for a major remodeling project at the Doral resort, owned and operated by a Trump company called Trump Endeavor.

There is no dispute that the paint was delivered and used on the property, according to court records. But after the subcontractor walked off the job weeks before completion, Enriquez didn’t get a final payment.

In a deposition, a project manager for general contractor Straticon testified that he failed to get the Trump Organization to pay the balance.

“Were you trying to pay him,” Vega asked the manager, Jamie Gram, during the sessions.

“I was,” Gram replied.

“And what happened?”

“Somebody chose not to,” Gram said.

“Who?” the lawyer asked.

“The Trump Organization,” Gram said.

“Who at Trump?”

“I don’t know,” Gram said. “Mr. Trump. Donald Trump.”

In October 2014, Enriquez filed a lien — a legal tool that can be used to recover a debt by tying up a piece of property — against Doral.

Eight months later, Enriquez filed a lawsuit against Trump Endeavor, seeking to foreclose on the 800-acre resort.

The Trump team’s defense was largely technical.

It turned out that when Enriquez took the job he submitted paperwork called a Notice to Owner, which would allow him to file a lien against the property if a bill wasn’t paid.

A Trump official gave him a form to work off — but it listed the general contractor for a different part of the project, and Enriquez repeated the mistake on his notice.

Gram later noticed and flagged the error. Enriquez said he would fix it but never did, court documents show.

At trial, though, Gram testified that the decision not to pay Enriquez “had nothing to do with a defective notice to owner.”

He went on to explain that the bill went unpaid because the Trump Organization had already paid “a decent amount of money” to the subcontractor, M&P, before it abandoned the job. The resort used any money left over, plus additional funds, to complete the unfinished paint job, he said.

Gram’s testimony appeared to distress Trump’s legal team, Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Jorge Cueto noted in his June 2016 ruling.

“When Mr. Gram made that admission, Trump’s trial attorneys visibly winced, began breathing heavily and attempted to make eye contact with him,” the judge wrote.

The judge found that Enriquez had made “diligent efforts” to comply with the lien law and that being given the wrong paperwork by the Trump official was the root of the mistake. He also dismissed Trump clams that the bill was fraudulent, subtracting only $76.39 for a stepladder from the bottom line.

Cueto then dealt the Trump team a bigger blow, ruling that they had to pay Enriquez’s legal costs. Because Vega had taken the case on contingency, meaning he would not get paid if they lost, the judge tacked on a multiplier to compensate him for the risk he took, nearly doubling the award to $283,949.91.

“Trump elected to fight this case ‘tooth and nail’ instead of resolving it for a reasonable amount, driving up Paint Spot’s litigation fees and costs,” the judge explained.

The Trump trial attorneys did not respond to requests for comment, nor did the Trump Organization’s general counsel. The attorney handling the appeal, Bruce Rogow, did not respond to a question about who should have paid Enriquez for the paint used at Doral.

“Florida Statutes on liens are very specific and the appeal seeks to enforce those statutes which would mean that there was no valid lien to begin with and therefore the plaintiff was not entitled to any relief,” he wrote in an email. “That really is all that is at issue.”

Rogow did not respond to a question about whether the president-elect was personally involved in the decision to appeal the judgement. A spokesperson for Trump also did not respond to questions from NBC News.

Vega said he is confident The Paint Spot will win the appeal. But if he loses, he said, Enriquez could be saddled with Trump legal fees and might face bankruptcy. Trump’s attorney declined to say whether they would seek to recoup the legal fees.

Despite the stakes, Vega said he and his client were not afraid to take on the litigious billionaire.

“The Paint Spot is also owned by a proud small business owner… and he felt and we agreed that he was right factually and legally and therefore, we both decided to take on the risk,” Vega said.

(h/t NBC News)

Trump Vows to Sue All Female Accusers

Donald Trump vowed Saturday to sue the women who have accused him of sexual misconduct in recent weeks.

“Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign,” Trump said during remarks in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. “Total fabrication. The events never happened. Never. All of these liars will be sued after the election is over.”

He added that a “simple phone call” to major news outlets “gets them wall-to-wall coverage with virtually no fact-checking ever.”

In the last two weeks, at least 10 women have come forward accusing Trump of inappropriately touching them. Their allegations came after a 2005 videotape surfaced of

Trump bragging about being able to grope women and get away with it.

Trump often threatens to file lawsuits without actually doing so. Earlier this month, he threatened to sue The New York Times when it published assault allegations against him, but nearly two weeks later, he has declined to follow through.

Trump went on to suggest Saturday that Hillary Clinton’s campaign was behind the women’s allegations.

“It was probably the (Democratic National Committee) and Hillary’s campaign who put forward these liars with their fabricated stories,” he said. “But we’ll probably find out later through litigation, which we’re so looking forward to.”

Asked about Trump’s claim, Clinton, speaking to reporters aboard her campaign plane Saturday night, simply said, “That’s just not accurate.”

(h/t CNN)


Donald Trump regularly threatens to sue individuals who criticize him, but rarely follows through. But when he does and on the occasions that he wins he ruins that person’s life, like former Miss Pennsylvania Sheena Monnin, who was forced to pay Trump $5 million dollars after a judgement went against her.

Lisa Bloom, who represents Jill Harth, who has accused Trump of making unwanted sexual advances on her on two separate occasions in the early 1990s, replied to Trump on Twitter Saturday afternoon.

“If Trump sues accusers we then have subpoena power to require not only Trump but all his enablers to appear for depositions. A field day,” Bloom said as part of a series of tweets.


Trump Threatens to Sue New York Times Over Groping Story, Times Dares Him To

Donald Trump is threatening to sue The New York Times for defamation in response to a Times article published Wednesday night that quoted two women who accused Trump of kissing and groping them without their consent.

Times reporter Megan Twohey wrote in the article that when she asked Trump on Tuesday night to comment on the allegations, he called her “a disgusting human being,” accused the Times of making up the story and said that he would sue the paper if it ran the story.

Then on Wednesday, one of Trump’s lawyers sent a formal letter to the Times threatening a lawsuit if it published the story, according to CNN’s Brian Stelter.

Shortly after midnight on Thursday, the Trump campaign emailed reporters a letter that a lawyer representing Trump had sent to Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet.

The Times is standing by its story.

“I think it is pretty evident this story falls clearly in the realm of public service journalism, and discussing issues that arose from the tape and his comments since it surfaced,” Times editor Dean Baquet told Stelter.

Trump has threatened legal action against the Times and other news organizations before. Two weeks ago, his lawyer Marc Kasowitz threatened to sue the paper for invasion of privacy after it published excerpts from his tax returns. Trump subsequently talked up the potential for a suit in rallies and appearances, finally saying he wouldn’t do it yet but was keeping an eye on the newspaper’s coverage of him.

On Wednesday night, The Palm Beach Post and Yahoo News reported on additional allegations of sexual harassment against Trump. The Palm Beach Post interviewed Mindy McGillivray, who said that Trump groped her at his Mar-a-Lago estate 10 years ago. Yahoo quoted a Facebook comment from Cassandra Searles, Miss Washington 2013 in Trump’s Miss Universe pageant, who wrote that Trump had grabbed her and invited her to his hotel room.

Trump has denied both allegations. Post publisher Tim Burke told POLITICO that he’s not aware of the paper receiving any legal threats from Trump or his campaign.

(h/t Politico)


The Times responded Thursday with a letter daring Trump to go through with a lawsuit.

Trump Threatens to Sue Clinton Over Attack Ads That Use His Own Words

Donald Trump is taking his penchant for lawsuits on the campaign trail. On Wednesday during a rally in Henderson, Nevada, the Republican presidential nominee threatened to take legal action against Hillary Clinton for a “nasty” television ad the campaign ran against him.

“I saw today — I left the room and I saw a commercial where it was really a nasty commercial, totally made up about me with vets,” Trump told the crowd. “There is nobody that loves the vets more or respects the vets more. They’re spending hundreds of millions of dollars on false commercials, and it’s a disgrace.”

“So what we’ll do — I guess we’ll sue them,” he said. “Let’s sue them.”

It was not immediately clear which ad Trump was referring to, but last month, the Clinton campaign premiered a 30-second spot that slams Trump and features veterans. The “Sacrifice” ad, like other Clinton ads targeting Trump, relies on Trump’s own words for its impact on voters.  It shows a montage of veterans and their families as they watch Trump on television criticizing the military.

“I know more about ISIS than the generals do,” Trump’s voice says from a TV screen as a Navy veteran looks on.

One veteran with an artificial leg, along with his family, watches as Trump blasts Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a former prisoner of war, as someone who was “not a war hero.”

“He’s a war hero because he was captured,” Trump says. “I like people who weren’t captured, OK?”

Here’s the video in full:

During last week’s first presidential debate in New York, Trump also slammed Clinton for her “very nasty commercials… which I don’t do on you.”

In fact, Trump has run negative ads against Clinton, including ones that have said Clinton “put our national security at risk” and have called her “careless, reckless, crooked.”

(h/t CBS News)


Trump Threatens to Sue New York Times

Donald Trump threatened to sue The New York Times on Twitter after posting several other messages blasting the paper and its well-known columnist Maureen Dowd.

“My lawyers want to sue the failing @nytimes so badly for irresponsible intent. I said no (for now), but they are watching. Really disgusting,” Trump tweeted.

Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, posted several other tweets Saturday attacking the Times and Dowd, calling her a “neurotic dope.”

On Saturday, the Times published a story digging into Trump’s reliance on tax breaks to build his New York real estate empire. It put the total value of tax breaks on Trump properties at at least $885 million.

(h/t The Hill)


Trump has had a long history of harassing the press and individual journalists for reporting on what he says.

In the past, Trump has made his feelings known that journalists should be “congratulating” him, which is not their jobs and sounds more like the role of the press in soviet Russia.

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