Trump: 'Fake NBC News' nuke story 'pure fiction'

President Trump on Wednesday forcefully denied an NBC News report that he asked to dramatically expand the U.S. nuclear arsenal and suggested he might pull the network’s broadcasting license.

“Fake @NBCNews made up a story that I wanted a ‘tenfold’ increase in our U.S. nuclear arsenal. Pure fiction, made up to demean. NBC = CNN!” he tweeted.

In a subsequent tweet, the president wrote: “With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!”
 

 

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The news network on Wednesday reported the president’s request, which it said shocked top military brass and senior administration officials.  
 
At a July meeting at the Pentagon, the president said he wanted to expand the country’s nuclear capabilities after seeing data showing the U.S. weapons stockpile decreasing over the past 50 years, according to the report. 
 
Top military officials reportedly told him that such a buildup would be prohibitively expensive and violate international disarmament treaties.
 
Trump’s threat against NBC alarmed some media figures and policy makers, who viewed it as an attempt to infringe on free-speech rights. Others said stripping a broadcast license is not feasible. 
 
“Not how it works,” tweeted Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democratic member of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
 
 
Television and radio stations require a license from the FCC in order to broadcast. They are issued to individual stations and local affiliates, not entire networks like NBC.
 
A 2008 commission document states that the First Amendment “protects broadcasts that criticize or ridicule established customs and institutions, including the government and its officials.”
 
It also said the FCC "generally will not intervene" in "allegations that stations have aired inaccurate or one-sided news reports or comments."
 
--This report was updated at 10:44 a.m.