Former president Donald Trump he went to court to fight three mass technology companies, filing lawsuits that legal experts say are guaranteed to fail – even though they bring together Republican voters, donors and donors.
Trump, who has a history of threatening legal actions but not always tracking, announced at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, along with two leaders from the U.S. First Institute for Politics, a pro-Trump nonprofit group that supports lawsuits.
Shortly after the press conference ended, Trump’s political entities began sending fundraising messages advertising the lawsuits in their appeals for money. One such text message, written in Trump’s voice, includes a link to his joint Save America fundraising committee, which also raises money for other Republican political initiatives.
Former President Donald Trump speaks at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, NJ, on Wednesday, July 7, 2021.
Seth Little | AP
The lawsuits were filed just over a month after Facebook decided to do so support Trump’s ban on using the platform at least until January 2023. Twitter, Trump’s favorite media house for an entire term, has permanently banned him from invading the Capitol on Jan. 6 by a crowd of his supporters.
The lawsuit against Pichai also cites Youtube, a video-sharing site bought by Google in 2006, as the accused. Youtube banned Trump indefinitely in January.
“We don’t want to make a deal,” Trump told reporters in Bedminster when asked about the lawsuits. “We don’t know what’s going to happen, but we don’t want to make a deal,” he said.
Three related lawsuits, filed in federal court in Florida, allege that the technology giants violated the plaintiffs ’rights to the first amendments.
The lawsuits ask the court to order media companies to release Trump on their platforms. They also want the court to declare that Article 230 of the Law on Decency of Communications, the part of the law that prevents technology companies from taking responsibility for what users post on their platforms, is unconstitutional.
As president, Trump protested against Department 230 and repeatedly called for its abolition. He even he linked the issue to a key round of stimulus checks at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the adoption of an annual defense bill.
Legal experts doubt whether Trump’s latest attack on large technology companies will succeed.
“I think the lawsuit has almost no chance of success,” Vanderbilt University law professor Brian Fitzpatrick told CNBC in a telephone interview.
Technical platforms are private entities, not government institutions, and therefore prosecutors’ allegations of constitutional violations are not upheld, Fitzpatrick said.
The professor added that the argument in the lawsuits did not convince him that companies should be treated as a government because of their behavior, including alleged coordination with then-President Joe Biden’s transition team, “he said.[s] to state action. “
“I think this is just a public relations lawsuit,” Fitzpatrick said, “and I’ll be honest with you, I wouldn’t be surprised if sanctions against lawyers for filing a frivolous lawsuit end up.”
Representatives of Twitter and Google declined to comment on the legal action. Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Trump spokeswoman Liz Harrington declined to comment ahead of the former president’s speech.
Lawyer representing Trump in litigation, Matthew Lee Baldwin of Vargas, Gonzales, Baldwin, Delombard, did not immediately answer CNBC questions about how many lawsuits Trump planned to file and whether all of those lawsuits have yet been filed in court or not.
Wall Street didn’t seem largely stunned by the news, as shares of Facebook and Google’s parent alphabet outperformed the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite.
Facebook was last seen in its session north of 1% with a gain of 0.1%, while Alphabet added about 0.2%. Twitter was below the daily low, but fell 0.5% in trading. Social media stock movements compared to a 0.1% loss for the S&P 500 and a 0.3% drop for the Nasdaq.
The announcement comes the same day The Guardian newspaper in the UK reported that the upcoming book “Honestly, We Won This Election” claims that Trump praised Adolf Hitler to his then-chief of staff John Kelly. Trump reportedly said, “Well Hitler did a lot of good things.”
Trump has denied saying that, according to the book’s author, Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender, The Guardian reported.
In a statement to NBC News, Harrington said the reporting was “completely false. President Trump never said it. It was fake news, probably from a general who was incompetent and fired.”
– That report was given by CNBC’s Tom Franck and Christina Wilkie.