President Donald Trump may have felt triumphant as he mercilessly mocked MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski on Twitter, but an audio recording released recently by The Intercept may finally damper his enthusiasm.
On Wednesday night, Trump was caught on a hot mic as he addressed attendees at a private fundraiser, saying that he wanted to sue CNN.
These comments were made as he discussed stories that were later retracted by the news organization and the resignations that followed. To the president, the fact journalists resigned after stories were later proven wrong is enough to make him believe he has a good case against the network.
“Boy, did CNN get killed over the last few days,” Trump is heard saying. “It’s a shame what they’ve done to the name CNN, that I can tell you.”
“But as far as I’m concerned, I love it,” he continues. “If anybody’s a lawyer in the house and thinks I have a good lawsuit — I feel like we do. Wouldn’t that be fun?”
Recently, Project Veritas' James O'Keefe released undercover videos showing both commentator Van Jones and a CNN producer allegedly questioning the network's Russia probe narrative. While Jones' story was later debunked as the commentator denounced the video as strategically edited, Trump couldn't avoid commenting on the incident.
According to the tape obtained by The Intercept, Trump said:
“Van Jones — you see this man? These are really dishonest people. Should I sue them? I mean, they’re phonies. Jeff Zucker, I hear he’s going to resign at some point pretty soon. I mean these are horrible human beings.”
As tensions between the network and the Trump administration seem to intensify as well in the White House newsroom, it's not surprising that the president is even considering to continue this war with the network.
“They’ve made it fairly clear they view this as a war," a CNN source told The Hill. "We view it as determination to seek truth and hold the powerful accountable regardless of how difficult they try to make it."
If the president does end up filing a lawsuit against the organization, it could easily become a battle not against CNN, but against the United States Constitution, as the president ignores CNN's right to freedom of speech and could face the First Amendment head-on. It might get nasty. But hopefully, it would turn out to be a very bad move for the commander-in-chief.