In a lawsuit filed today in federal court in Mahattan, a literary group alleges that “official acts” by Donald Trump have “violated the First Amendment and his oath to uphold the Constitution.” The AP reports that the suit was filed by the PEN American Center, also known as PEN America, which has criticized Trump as a bully, an autocrat, a user of hate speech and an enemy of free expression.
“PEN cites such examples as reports that Trump was meddling in the proposed merger of AT&T and CNN, a frequent target of Trump’s anger (The Justice Department has sought to block the merger),” the AP reports. “The suit also notes Trump’s comments on Washington Post owner and Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos. Trump, unhappy with the Post’s coverage, has threatened antitrust action against Amazon and suggested raising its shipping costs. According to the Post, he has pressured U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan to double the rates. (Last week, the United States Postal Service proposed some hikes for 2019, among them increases which would affect Amazon. Shipping costs have been raised several times over the past decade.)”
“President Trump has First Amendment rights and is free to criticize the press vehemently, but he is not free to use the power and authority of the United States government to punish and stifle it,” the complaint states.