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The New York Times swats down Trump's lawsuit threat in a scathingly droll letter

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 Prominent Republicans have lambasted Trump's words and actions (House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has not rescinded his endorsement, said he was "sickened") and a growing number of party members have pulled their support.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.