Can President Trump really revoke broadcast licenses?
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President Trump is not thrilled with NBC News this week. NBC News reported early Wednesday that Trump pushed back in July for a major expansion of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. That request reportedly prompted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to later call Trump a “moron.”
Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday to deny the report, calling it “fake news” and “pure fiction.” He raised the idea of challenging NBC’s broadcast license. Later, at a news conference alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Trump said, “It’s frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write, and people should look into it.”
Hours later, Trump reiterated his call to strip licenses from networks in yet another tweet: “Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked. Not fair to public!”
But can a U.S. president revoke or strip a network’s broadcast license?
On this week’s episode of “Can He Do That?” we’ll revisit the president’s relationship with the press with The Washington Post’s media columnist Margaret Sullivan. Plus, we’ll talk to Post political reporter Aaron Blake about similar actions taken by President Richard M. Nixon in the 1970s. And finally, Andrew Jay Schwartzman, Benton Senior Counselor at the Georgetown University Law Center’s Institute for Public Representation, explains the licensing process and limitations on the president and the Federal Communications Commission.
Each week, “Can He Do That?” examines the powers and limitations of the American presidency, focusing on one area where President Trump is seemingly breaking precedent. We answer the critical questions about what today’s news means for the future of the highest office in the nation.
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The Washington Post and Live Nation will bring the “Can He Do That?” podcast to a live audience at the Warner Theatre on Nov. 7. In this live taping, political reporters Bob Woodward, David Fahrenthold and Karen Tumulty will join host Allison Michaels to review the past year in President Trump’s White House and the biggest moments that made people wonder “Can He Do That?” Tickets can be purchased now at Live Nation.