New York Times responds to Donald Trump's legal threat: 'We welcome the opportunity to set him straight'

Donald trumpJoe Raedle/Getty ImagesDonald Trump in Palm Beach, Florida.

The New York Times on Thursday denied Donald Trump’s demand to retract a story detailing newly revealed, years-old allegations of sexual misconduct against the Republican presidential nominee.

After the Trump campaign sent a letter Thursday morning threatening a lawsuit against the paper if it did not retract its story, Times attorney David E. McCraw laid out the case against a such a suit. McCraw said the story’s reporters verified their sources’ accounts and pointed out that Trump himself has boasted about his ability to “grab” women without their consent.

“Mr. Trump has bragged about his non-consensual sexual touching of women. He has bragged about intruding on beauty pageant contestants in their dressing rooms. He acquiesced to a radio host’s request to discuss Mr. Trump’s own daughter as a ‘piece of arse,'” McCraw wrote in a letter to Trump’s attorney Thursday.

He added: “Nothing in our article has had the slightest effect on the reputation that Mr. Trump, through his own words and actions, has already created for himself.”

McCraw claimed that the story was “an issue of national importance,” and it “would have been a disservice not just to our readers but to democracy itself to silence their voices.”

The Times also appeared to add in a dare of sorts to the Republican presidential candidate to file the lawsuit. Doing so would trigger a process that many observers point out could reveal details about Trump’s businesses and force him to and close associates to testify on record about their relationship with Trump and his accusers.

“If Mr. Trump disagrees, if he believes that American citizens had no right to hear what these women had to say and that the law of this country forces us those who would dare to criticise him to stand silent or be punished, we welcome the opportunity to have a court set him straight,” McCraw said.

The letter also said other women came forward with allegations on which the Times did not report.

For his part, Trump spent a portion of a Thursday speech in Florida going after the Times’ reporting, saying several Times reporters should be fired and that the paper itself should go out of business.

“Now The New York Times is fighting desperately for its relevance and finical survival. And it probably won’t be around in a few years based on its financial outcome. And it probably wouldn’t be a bad thing, to tell you the truth,” Trump said.

Read the full letter below:

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