Turley: Trump’s Desire to Change the Libel Laws and End Protections for Free Speech Is ‘Troubling’
TURLEY: "These are all examples of how defamation laws protect the president just as they do his critics. But the thing that’s troubling about the president’s comments is not that they’ve been now going on for over a year calling for changing of libel laws. But the defamation standard which was articulated in the case called New York Times versus Sullivan. It is the very embodiment of American values. It is anchored in the First Amendment. It's enormously important. It allows average citizens to be able to criticize public figures. And what the president is talking about when people say something that’s knowingly false, that’s not barred by New York Times versus Sullivan. If you say something knowingly false, you have a defamation case. And that’s exactly what his lawyers doing. Michael Cohen, one of his lawyers has sued people saying that they’ve said knowingly false things about him in the famous dossier."
BRZEZINSKI: "So can we do this?"
TURLEY: "No. I -- what I find troubling is not that he will succeed but that he is still suggesting that we should lower that standard. It is such a fundamental part of our constitutional system. But in order to change the standard, you have to do one of two things. You have to amend the first Amendment or you have to change the makeup of the Supreme Court and really fill it with people with the most extreme views of the First Amendment, to basically eradicate the protections for free speech and the free media. And that’s what’s troubling about this. It’s not the threat that it will succeed, but it’s the desire. and I’m really sort of astonished that the president is still flogging this horse."