By:
September 23, 2021

Trump is suing his niece, Mary Trump, The New York Times and three Times reporters over what he claims was an “insidious plot” to obtain his tax records. Trump’s lawsuit claims the Times convinced Mary Trump to “smuggle records out of her attorney’s office and turn them over to the Times.”

The Associated Press’ Michael R. Sisak wrote, “The lawsuit accuses the Times and three of its investigative reporters, Susanne Craig, David Barstow and Russell Buettner, of relentlessly seeking out Mary Trump as a source of information and convincing her to turn over documents. The suit claims the reporters were aware the settlement agreement barred her from disclosing the documents.”

Relentlessly seeking out Mary Trump? That’s not what Craig thinks. She tweeted, “I knocked on Mary Trump’s door. She opened it. I think they call that journalism.”

The Times story about Trump’s taxes helped the three reporters win a Pulitzer Prize for explanatory journalism in 2019.

In a statement, the Times said, “The Times’s coverage of Donald Trump’s taxes helped inform the public through meticulous reporting on a subject of overriding public interest. This lawsuit is an attempt to silence independent news organizations and we plan to vigorously defend against it.”

Mary Trump was more blunt, telling The Daily Beast’s Maxwell Tani and Harry Siegel, “I think he’s a (expletive) loser, and he is going to throw anything against the wall he can. It’s desperation. The walls are closing in and he is throwing anything against the wall that will stick. As is always the case with Donald, he’ll try and change the subject.”

In a piece for The Washington Post, media writers Paul Farhi and Sarah Ellison write, “If history is any guide, this one is also likely to generate a flurry of attention before quietly stalling out.”

This piece originally appeared in The Poynter Report, our daily newsletter for everyone who cares about the media. Subscribe to The Poynter Report here.

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Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer for Poynter.org. He was previously part of the Tampa Bay Times family during three stints over some 30…
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