On Wednesday, The New York Times published an article featuring two women accusing Donald Trump of touching them inappropriately years ago. Trump has denied the allegations and threatened to sue the paper for libel. Trump's lawyer demanded the Times retract the story and issue an apology.
The New York Times' response? "We decline to do so." The no-holds-barred letter, written from the Times general counsel to Trump's lawyer, continues:
The essence of a libel claim, of course, is the protection of one's reputation. Mr. Trump has bragged about his non-consensual sexual touching of women. He has bragged about intruding on beauty pageant contestants in their dressing rooms. He has acquiesced to a radio host's request to discuss Mr. Trump's own daughter as a "piece of ass." ... Nothing in our article has had the slightest effect on the reputation that Mr. Trump, through his own words and actions, has already created for himself.
If Trump wants to bring the newspaper to court, the letter concludes, by all means: "We welcome the opportunity to have a court set him straight."
Trump's campaign has been scrambling since a video surfaced last week of Trump graphically describing how he touched women without their consent. Prominent Republicans have lambasted Trump's words and actions (House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has not rescinded his endorsement, said he was "sickened") and a growing number of party members have pulled their support. Meanwhile, several women have come forward with their stories of Trump's inappropriate behavior. Lauren Hansen
Tea Party–aligned Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) turned back a very heated primary challenge Tuesday night, winning with 57 percent to businessman Brian Ellis' 43 percent — and in his victory speech, he slammed Ellis for having the nerve to call him up on the phone to offer a friendly concession.
"To Brian Ellis, you owe my family and this community an apology — for your disgusting, despicable smear campaign," Amash said, as his supporters cheered him on, the local NBC affiliate reports.
You had the audacity to try to call me today, after running a campaign that was called the nastiest in the country. I ran for office to stop people like you — to stop people who were more interested in themselves than in doing what's best for their district. [Amash, via NBC]
It was indeed a nasty race, in which Ellis had the backing of business groups in a major effort by the party establishment to retake control of the GOP away from insurgents like Amash, in the wake of Amash's role in last year's government shutdown. As just one example, Ellis ran a TV ad that called Amash "Al Qaeda's best friend in Congress" for wanting to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay and opposing the NSA surveillance programs. And Amash was certainly not about to forget it.
After the speech, in an interview with the channel, Amash stood by his harsh words against Ellis: "He's what wrong with politics, people like him. And I stood up to these people. You know, they lie, they smear, they distort, and then they think everything's fine afterwards — and it's not fine."
Here is a video of Amash's speech, via the NBC affiliate: