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NYT Responds After Trump Brands It 'Enemy of the People'

Tweets follow publication of paper's investigation
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2019 1:25 PM CST
NYT Responds After Trump Brands It 'Enemy of the People'
President Donald Trump speaks during a signing event for "Space Policy Directive 4" in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019, in Washington.   (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – President Trump set his sights on the New York Times Wednesday, tweeting the following: "The New York Times reporting is false. They are a true ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!" While there was no reference to a specific article, the tweet followed Tuesday's publication of an investigation titled "Trump’s Two-Year War on the Investigations Encircling Him." What you need to know:

  • One of the piece's stand-out allegations: that Trump asked former acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker whether Geoffrey Berman, a Trump-appointed US attorney for the Southern District of New York, could be put in charge of the Manhattan investigation into hush payments made to women during the 2016 campaign. Per the Times, Whitaker said no because Berman had already recused himself.
  • The Times reports House Democrats are looking at whether Whitaker committed perjury when he said under oath, "'at no time has the White House asked for nor have I provided any promises or commitments concerning the special counsel's investigation or any other investigation."
  • After the article's publication, Trump denied the conversation happened.

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  • The Times itself calls the tweet "an escalation from [Trump's] previous lashings which were typically addressed to a group of news organizations or over specific Times articles."
  • Politico flags a tweet Trump made earlier Wednesday in which he trumpets the media's extreme dishonesty and says, "The writers don’t even call asking for verification." Maggie Haberman, one of the investigation's authors, said "that is a lie," per Business Insider, telling CNN the Times did ask the White House for comment a number of times prior to publication.
  • Times publisher AG Sulzberger weighed in on Wednesday, too, publishing a response to the president. It reads in part: "In demonizing the free press as the enemy, simply for performing its role of asking difficult questions and bringing uncomfortable information to light, President Trump is retreating from a distinctly American principle. It’s a principle that previous occupants of the Oval Office fiercely defended regardless of their politics, party affiliation, or complaints about how they were covered. The phrase 'enemy of the people' is not just false, it’s dangerous. ... As I have repeatedly told President Trump face to face, there are mounting signs that this incendiary rhetoric is encouraging threats and violence against journalists at home and abroad."
(A new hire at CNN is making big waves.)

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