American Oversight Investigates Trump Administration Attacks on Free Press

American Oversight has opened an investigation into President Trump’s tweeted threat to “challenge” the broadcast licenses of TV news affiliate stations.

This morning, President Trump tweeted: “With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!”

American Oversight submitted a FOIA request to the Federal Communications Commission seeking all communications between the agency and the White House regarding broadcast station licensing decisions, records of any proposed changes in licensing procedures related to news coverage of the Trump administration, and emails within the FCC regarding the president’s October 11 tweet.

While the FCC does not “license” news networks like NBC – as apparently suggested in the president’s tweet – the regulator does issue and renew licenses for local affiliate television stations across the country.

American Oversight has previously investigated threats made by the President against the press, including his attempt in July to intimidate CNN by blocking the merger of its parent company, Time Warner, with AT&T.“Once again, President Trump is using the powers of his office to harass and intimidate those in the media that are working to hold him accountable. Today’s tweets are yet another sign of an administration that has no regard for the rule of law or the basic constitutional protections that underpin our democracy. American Oversight is going to fully investigate whether this is just another empty threat or if, in fact, President Trump is abusing his power to undermine the freedom of the press.”

“Once again, President Trump is using the powers of his office to harass and intimidate those in the media that are working to hold him accountable,” said Austin Evers, American Oversight’s Executive Director. “Today’s tweets are yet another sign of an administration that has no regard for the rule of law or the basic constitutional protections that underpin our democracy. American Oversight is going to fully investigate whether this is just another empty threat or if, in fact, President Trump is abusing his power to undermine the freedom of the press.”

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