Donald Trump has never made any secret of his disdain for CNN and its coverage of his administration, but the Jeff Zucker-run cable newser was pretty quick to dead end the latest legal threats from the former Celebrity Apprentice host.
‘This is nothing more than a desperate PR stunt and doesn’t merit a response,” a CNN spokesperson bluntly told Deadline today in reaction to a letter from Trump lawyer Charles Harder over a so-called whistleblower video.
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“Your own employees appear to state that CNN is focused on trying to ‘take down President Trump,’ driven by a ‘personal vendetta’ that Mr. Zucker purportedly has against him, rather than reporting the news in an objective manner,” says the Rodeo Drive-based former Hulk Hogan attorney in his October 16 correspondence over footage released by repeatedly disgraced and self-described “guerrilla journalist” James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas
“In the Footage, your employees appear to state that CNN attempts to make its reporting appear neutral and unbiased, when in fact its reporting is far from neutral and highly biased against the President,” Hader adds. “Accordingly, my clients intend to file legal action against you, to seek compensatory damages, treble damages, punitive damages, injunctive relief, reimbursement of legal costs, and all other available legal and equitable remedies, to the maximum extent permitted by law.” The lawyer invokes presumed violations of the Lanham Act unless a settlement involving “substantial payments” is reached between the AT&T-owned outlet and Trump.
A constant battering ram for his client, Harder’s letter follows social media proclamations by the impeachment facing Trump himself earlier this week that he was going to take on CNN and Zucker directly:
“Project Veritas-Obtained Undercover Videos Highlight Jeff Zucker’s (@CNN) Campaign To Destroy Trump. Videos Reveal @CNN’s BIAS!” @TuckerCarlson @FoxNews Does this sound like a good, or even great, lawsuit?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 15, 2019
Remember, the last time Trump actually got into a legal showdown with CNN, it didn’t turn out so well for the White House?
The Zucker-run outlet took the administration to court after they revoked correspondent Jim Acosta’s press credentials last fall. A federal judge sided with CNN and within days Acosta was back on the White House grounds covering Trump and crew. Then-press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders even tried to make the whole thing look like a win for them, which made Team Trump look more like sore losers.
Which is kind of what the lawyer for Acosta and CNN said today after Harder’s letter went public. “This is an absolutely ridiculous letter,” asserted Theodore J. Boutrous Jr on his Twitter feed Friday. “No serious lawyer would ever think of sending such a frivolous letter making such a baseless threat.”
Why do I have the feeling Gibson Dunn partner Boutrous will be representing CNN again if this actual ever goes to court?