Donald Trump's Wiretapping Tweets Could Leave Him Vulnerable to a Libel Lawsuit From Former President Obama

(Photos from Left: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images, Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Donald Trump's Wiretapping Tweets Could Leave Him Vulnerable to a Libel Lawsuit From Former President Obama

And how this could lead to an unveiling of his tax returns.

Published March 6, 2017

After President Donald Trump made the incendiary assertion that Barack Obama used his executive power to wiretap Trump Tower, many are looking into whether or not the president made himself susceptible to a libel lawsuit.

On Saturday morning, Donald Trump tweeted — without evidence — about the former president ordering an illegal surveillance of Trump Tower during the 2016 election. Although libel laws do not typically work in favor for public figures, there are certain variables that may make this instance an exception.

According to other libel cases heard by the Supreme Court, two legal questions must be answered for it to be considered truly libel:

Was it a false statement?

Did the person know it was false when they published said statement or were they reckless in publishing the statement?

If Trump’s tweet is considered a publication than it appears that he was in fact reckless in putting the claim out into the world without verifying with proper intelligence agencies. Additionally, FBI Director James Comey has denied Trump’s allegations and asked the DOJ to deny his claims as well.  

  1. Although it is unlikely that Barack Obama will file a suit, MSNBC offered a deep dive into why Trump's tweets could be considered libel
  2. Trump considers his tweets 'publications' to the American people; thus, his 140 character statement about Obama could result in suit
  3. Additionally, being summoned to court for a libel suit could make Trump vulnerable to depositions for tax returns and other paperwork

Written by Rachel Herron

(Photos from Left: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images, Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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